Is Spotify Running truly a Game Changer?

“Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.” – Victor Hugo
Music drives many of the things around us. It can change the entire environment, lift up spirits and remind us of moments in our life that lies deep within. At least thats how I see it. I am a huge fan of connected living and love fitness bands like Fitbit & Nike Fuelband that it helps me monitor my steps, sleep, water intake and so on. And with fitness comes Music and music is integral to fitness. And when Spotify decides to connect Music with Fitness, we get their first iteration – Spotify Running.
I do know it is not a fitness tracker. Spotify manages to offer you music that is based on the strides you take while running.
Here are few marketing statement that I could find on the site;
  • Spotify Running finds your tempo and plays music to match.
  • Running in time with the music makes you feel more energetic, more motivated.
  • We’re music fans who love to run. So we put together the world’s best running music.
  • Check out Running Originals – amazing new music that adapts to your run. (Discover)
  • You can soundtrack your entire life with Spotify. Whatever you’re doing or feeling, we’ve got the music to make it better.

Initial Impressions

Spotify Running_Screen1_georgeiswrite

Spotify Running resides within the app itself. It is just an additional menu that set this apart from the rest of the options. The UI is simple and intuitive. It comes with 6 basic options; Burn, Epic, Seasons, Lock the Flow, Blissed out and The Chase.
On top of that, they have Running Playlist that plays popular tunes by Artist around the globe.
Do note: I am not here to review the music but the tech and my experience behind it.
Fitbit or Nike calculates your steps by dedicated fitness bands. No matter how hard you swing your arms, it will only calculate your steps by the actual steps you take by your feet. This innovation is driven by Motion X, the company that provides the sensor-based solutions backed by data science to get accurate measurable data. Because I was so used to the way fitness bands work, I expected the same for Spotify to calculate my strides, I was dead wrong.
Spotify actually calculates the tempo based on the movement registered by your iPhone, thats it. I was a tad bit disappointed at that because, I was expecting something more from a product like Spotify. I am not saying they should calculate Steps but instead calculate the Tempo based on actual heel strike which is the most basic when it comes to running like how apps like Strava and RunKeeper calculates using Motion X. Spotify Running definitely gets the ball rolling in terms of creating something that has never done before and I respect that but may be I am a sucker for minor details like these.
I created this Tempo just waving my hand

I created this Tempo just waving my hand


Spotify has definitely something on in the right direction and is a clear differentiator when it comes to the crowded music streaming market with the entry of Apple Music. With the addition to the 6 basic options, they did introduce a Running Playlist which helps introduce Artists you’ve never heard before. Its basically a repurposing of their Shuffle feature, I suppose (clever).
Even though I was a bit disappointed, its definitely a great place to start. I definitely know refinements are on the way and more innovations like these are expected from Spotify in the near future.