Strava has been around since 2009, but today the popular fitness app is finally here Finally add an in-app Spotify integration. Instead of having to switch between apps, you can now access your Spotify favorites from the workout record screen. And perhaps the best part is that you don’t need a Spotify or Strava subscription to use it.
“It’s just one of those things that we know people have been asking for for a long time, and finally the stars are aligned,” said Mateo Ortega, Strava’s vice president of connected partnerships. When asked about the possibility of adding other platforms, Ortega didn’t rule out the possibility, but noted that Spotify was a clear first step.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see why the partnership between Strava and Spotify matters. Spotify is the most popular audio streaming service. Strava is one of the most popular fitness apps. Millions of people rely on music, podcasts, and audiobooks to distract from the physical pain of a grueling workout (or, you know, to keep them motivated through the tough parts). But aside from the obvious reasons, an in-app Spotify widget eliminates the need to switch between apps when you want to switch music. Less time fiddling with your phone means you’re more likely to stay in the zone.
On the other hand, the integration seems like a long overdue addition – one that may be overdue now that smartwatches and fitness trackers can also stream music. Personally, I found this to be a bigger problem, for example, when I relied on my phone to track workouts around 2013. Additionally, several other fitness apps have added Spotify or Apple Music integrations over the years.
That said, when I tried the integration for myself, I could see the appeal. All you have to do is tap the record button and then select the music icon in the right corner. From there you will be prompted to connect your Spotify account. Once that’s done, you can browse your top mixes in a little widget in the Spotify app. This is a bit different than some of the other music integrations I’ve tried. For example, in the Runkeeper app, enabling Spotify just redirects me to the active playlist page of the app. It doesn’t really take me to the playlists I painstakingly put together. Similarly, the Apple Music integration automatically plays a single playlist and displays only the current song at the top of the screen.
It’s a small difference, but I was pleasantly surprised by Strava’s in-app widget approach. Not only can you swipe up to see what’s in the queue, but you can also browse different mixes – the ones you’ve curated yourself, and you can also listen to Spotify-created playlists frequently.
“If people forget that they used to have to open Spotify, go back to Strava and hit record, and to change a song, switch back to Spotify — if it changes their behavior and keeps them in the moment? this is a good integration for us,” says Ortega.
The only quirk I noticed is that if you pause for a long period of time, you’ll be asked if you want to keep listening. You’ll need to reauthorize Spotify, though that part happens automatically once you hit play again.
This integration ultimately works best for users who use the Strava app to record workouts, as opposed to those who import them from other services or trackers. Still, the move cements Strava’s status as a de facto fitness hub.
“Our strategy has always been to be the Switzerland of fitness equipment.”
Right now, the digital fitness and wellness space consists of a bunch of little fiefdoms; there are a ton of apps for tracking runs, rides, nutrition, and route planning, but only a handful of ways to see all your data in one place. But while you can consolidate your data within Apple’s and Google’s health APIs, it leaves a gaping hole in terms of community. As Fitbit recently proved, making social features dependent on hardware has drawbacks when social features are shut down or friends switch platforms.
“Our strategy has always been to be the Switzerland of fitness equipment. We want everything to work with Strava,” says Ortega.
And through it all, Ortega isn’t really exaggerating. The Lululemon Mirror, Peloton bikes and other gear, Garmins, Apple Watches, Komoot, Zwift and MyFitnessPal – these are just a handfull from the platforms that work with Strava. This is what makes Strava’s aggressive integration strategy smart. It doesn’t really matter which fitness tracker or app you use – you can still connect with friends regardless of platform. So it’s no surprise that Strava has become popular place to share your fitness achievements And keep your data in one place. Adding Spotify to the mix just gives Strava users more reasons to stick around.