How Do You Know Which Spotify Links to Use? - dummies

How Do You Know Which Spotify Links to Use?

By Kim Gilmour

To HTTP, or not to HTTP? When you copy a link in Spotify that you want to share online, you need to make sure you’re copying the right kind of link. When you copy a web address and paste it into something else, such as a word-processing document or an e-mail, the program you’re using usually detects that it’s a web address.

The pasted address then becomes an active hyperlink, meaning that the link turns a different color (usually blue) and becomes clickable. You can do this with Spotify links, too. (And when you paste a link into a word-processing document or something similar, it usually becomes the name of what you’re linking to, as opposed to the ugly URL.)

Pasting Spotify addresses as HTTP links, rather than URIs, is generally a fail-safe way to go because the programs know they’re web links and make those links clickable. Even if the program you’re using doesn’t know how to turn the address into a link, people viewing it should recognize that it belongs to a website, and they can copy and paste it into their browser address bars accordingly.

The disadvantage of the HTTP link is that when you click it, you get redirected to a temporary landing page on Spotify’s website that then asks you to launch the application, which adds a layer of hassle to the process. The absolute URIs that start with spotify: are much quicker and very handy.

The trouble with the spotify:-type link, though, is that it isn’t a universal standard. So, if you paste one into an e-mail or Instant Message, the program you’re using won’t necessarily detect it as a Spotify link, so the URI doesn’t become a clickable link.

Or, if the program does highlight the link to a track as clickable, the link doesn’t work because the program doesn’t understand how to open it in Spotify.

Also, not everyone has Spotify installed, so their computers don’t know what to do with the link and, unlike with the HTTP link, people who click the Spotify URI don’t arrive at that handy landing page, which encourages them to download Spotify if they don’t have it.

There are some programs that support the URI link, such as the Mac chat program Adium and the Mac version of Skype. But these URI-friendly programs are still relatively thin on the ground — it’s up to software developers to allow the spotify: protocol to work as a link.

When you first follow a spotify: link in your web browser, it launches a dialog box with a message asking you whether it’s okay to open Spotify by using that link. In Internet Explorer, the message says, Do You Want to Allow This Website to Open a Program on Your Computer?, and the program (Spotify) and address are listed below the message.

Click Allow to launch the link in Spotify. You can deselect the check box next to Always Ask before Opening This Type of Address to avoid seeing this dialog box again.

So when can you use the URI link? URI links are best reserved for those who run their own websites or blogs, and who have absolute control over the links in their code. URIs are quite prevalent on blogs, including Spotify’s own. The hugely popular Spotify playlist-sharing site uses the Spotify URI format.

URIs can also be pasted or typed straight into the Spotify Search text box for instant access. So, if you have a link to a URI that’s not working for some reason, you can just paste it into the text box and press the Enter key.