When it works, Spotify is a wonderful tool for accessing a vast library of music on-demand, allowing you to enjoy your favorite artists and discover new ones through streaming.
When it doesn’t work, Spotify is frustrating and a source of many headaches as you try and fail to address some random bug when all you want to do is listen to music.
Naturally, we all much prefer it when we can actually hear the music, and not just see the track playing with no sound.
That’s why, today, we’re going to take an in-depth look at this irritating issue, and how you can solve it!
Spotify and Bluetooth: A High-Volume Pair
Wireless technology has been around for a while, but Bluetooth is the latest and greatest modern standard for wireless devices that’s become ubiquitous on the market.
In fact, it’s become so widely adopted that some devices don’t even include a standard headphone jack these days, just Bluetooth!
So naturally, Spotify is no exception and allows for usually-flawless playback through Bluetooth headsets and speakers.
Usually flawless, we say, because if you’re reading this article, you’re likely already aware of some of the flaws that can occasionally crop up.
Everything may look like it’s working on the visual interface, you can even see the seconds ticking on the track, but you just can’t actually hear anything.
There are, of course, any number of potential explanations, but there’s one that’s far more common than the rest: your volume is too low.
Sometimes, if your device’s volume setting is on the low end, it won’t be outputting a strong enough signal for your speaker or headset to detect.
Bluetooth needs to pick up a strong enough wireless signal to function, and low volumes may not be outputting the required signal strength.
The solution, of course, is to simply turn up your volume.
With any luck, ramping it up a few notches should be all you need to start hearing your music again.
Have You Tried Turning it Off and On Again?
It’s the oldest troubleshooting tip in the book, and for a good reason!
Sometimes, it works.
And even if it doesn’t work, it rules out the easiest-to-test solution so you can move on to other tests with the confidence you’re not missing an obvious potential fix.
So we suggest restarting everything.
And we do mean everything:
- Start by closing Spotify, and then, restart your computing device (your PC, smartphone, or whatever device you’re playing Spotify from).
- Next, turn off and unplug your audio device (speaker or headset) if it has its own power source; if it does not, just unplug it.
- Now, once your computing device is back on, plug in your audio device and turn it on as well if applicable.
- Finally, reopen Spotify; while you’re at it, make sure Spotify has updated to the latest version.
Now try playing some music again.
With any luck, your problem is resolved!
But even if it’s not, at least you can move on down the troubleshooting order of operations with confidence.
Time to Play Musical Speakers: Musical Chairs’ Troubleshooting Cousin
Most of us have played Musical chairs at some point in our childhoods, that game where everyone’s getting up and switching chairs all the time.
Well, we’re going to play a “game” sort of like that now, but this one will hopefully help you resolve your audio issues!
To do this, you’re going to need two computing devices; the one you’re having issues with (computing device A), and another backup one (computing device B).
Reminder: by “computing device” we just mean the thing you’re playing Spotify from, whatever that may be: smartphone, PC, etc.
You’ll also need two audio devices, i.e. speakers or headphones; the one you’re having issues with (audio device A), and a backup one (audio device B).
So far, you’ve been trying to use Audio device A with Computing device A, and it hasn’t been working, so we’re going to switch things up to try and identify the problem device(s) if any.
Before beginning the tests, use both “B” devices together and play music just to make sure they work; if they don’t, they will not make effective controls for the following tests.
- Start by connecting audio device B to computing device A and playing some music as a test.
- If you can hear the music, you now know computing device A works fine, but there may be a problem with audio device A.
- You should also try connecting computing device B to audio device A and testing the sound in the same manner.
- If you can hear the music in this test, you now know audio device A works fine, and the issue may be with your computing device.
Once you’ve carried out the above tests, you should know which device is at fault.
This alone will not identify what the problem is exactly, but it will inform you which device, specifically, is having issues.
You can then try further troubleshooting techniques on the faulty device, or simply substitute another device that you know works.
Mute on Arrival: Why You Should Always Check Native Volume
Not all audio devices are created equal, and some are far more complex than others.
Your average no-frills pair of earbuds, for instance, plugs in and is ready to go, with no buttons or settings.
By contrast, an expensive gaming headset usually has a whole host of buttons, dials, and controls of its own.
However, the specific feature we’re interested in here is whether or not your audio device has a native volume setting.
This is different from just having volume and/or mute buttons on the device; some devices have these controls, but they merely control the volume for the device they’re connected to.
However, some audio devices have their own internal volume setting that can be adjusted via buttons or a dial on the speaker or headset.
In these cases, the controls don’t affect the volume settings of your computing device, but rather control the native volume setting in the audio device itself.
With such audio devices, you’re dealing with two separate volume settings that both affect the total output to your ears.
With such devices, there’s a common problem where you might have your computing device cranked all the way up, but you’re still hearing nothing.
When this occurs, it’s usually because the audio device’s native volume is either muted or set so low you can’t hear anything.
Issues like these are why it’s always a good idea to fully familiarize yourself with the specifications of any new device you acquire and read the entire manual as soon as you can.
Once you’ve determined that your device may have its own native volume setting, search the device for a mute button, volume buttons, and/or a volume slider.
Once you’ve found these controls, make sure that your audio device is unmuted and turned up loud enough to hear, and you will have hopefully solved your issue!
General Pros and Cons of Spotify Playback
When it works as intended, playback is nice and smooth, but when you’re getting glitches like the one we talked about today, it can be rather frustrating.
To help you put everything into perspective, we’ve compiled a concise pros and cons list:
- Playback is easy to control with touch controls, mouse clicks, keyboard shortcuts, and more, depending on your platform.
- A quick device restart can solve most playback issues.
- Spotify functions (usually smoothly) with a wide variety of speakers, headphones, earbuds, and other audio devices.
- Spotify playback is controlled in more or less the same manner across all devices.
- Spotify does not always play smoothly with Bluetooth devices, particularly at low volumes.
- Needing to restart your device every time you experience a minor bug can be irksome.
- Connecting audio output and computing devices in various configurations may be necessary to diagnose troublesome issues.
- If your audio device has a native volume setting set to mute or very low, this can prevent hearing Spotify.