Chrispins sent me a note earlier this week about how the iPhone/iPad Class Builder App will now work with Spotify playlists. Fantastic! I've been waiting for someone to create an Instructor App that uses Spotify.
I have a sort of love-hate relationship with the Spotify App... I love the huge selection of music available for $10 a month, sharing playlists and especially the cross fade - it has my playlists sounding like a near professional mix, with no extra effort. But I hate the tiny numbers they use for the track length timers. If you're a 30 something year old Instructor, with youthful eyes, those itty bitty numbers are probably not a problem. I (and there's a good chance you) on the other hand, have reached the start of my Golden Years where everything looks a little fuzzy without my readers.
Class Builder has BIG NUMBERS - which is awesome and that feature alone is enough for me to look past the $19.95 cost of the App. The options to add cues, tied to each specific track, could really simplify teaching a well crafted profile. Projecting the class profile's training zones on a screen would be cool if your studio's system will accept the video signal from your device.
Class Builder does have a few limitations...
Class Builder requires a premium Spotify account
No off-line mode... only streaming using WiFi.
But before you purchase Class Builder, with the plan that you'll be using music from Spotify, there's something important that you should be aware of - Class Builder doesn't offer a play music off line, option. To use Spotify in a class, where you're using the Class Builder App as the music player, you'll need to be connected to a reliable wireless internet connection. Which is fine if you've got one. In the studio where I teach, the WiFi is weak and when I've tried to use it in the past I was repeatedly asked to sign in to the WiFi multiple times. So I'm doing some testing to find if I can feel comfortable using Class Builder.
No option for Local tracks
Spotify will only stream Spotify tracks. Because Class Builder can only stream music, it can not play your local iTunes music tracks.
I realize this is can be confusing. Let me try to explain: Let's say you want to include a fun remix or mashup MP3 that you have in iTunes, in a playlist on your iPhone/iPad. The only option is to sync your device with your computer, using the same WiFi to connect between them and then set the playlist on your device to Make Available Off Line or my iPad now says Download Playlist.
Because Class Builder has no ability to download, or make tracks available off line, there is no option to include your local files (iTunes) in a playlist used with Class Builder.
No cross fade or EQ either
There was some early discussions about Class Builder on one of the Instructor Facebook groups. People were having a hard time understanding why, for example, Class Builder wouldn't follow the settings they've made in the Spotify App or play in an off line mode. It took me a while before I understood where the confusion was coming from; Instructors were rightly thinking that "I have everything set correctly on the Spotify App... why isn't this working?"
Class Builder doesn't use the Spotify App on your iPhone - Class Builder is a completely separate App that can access your premium Spotify account. I haven't tried it, but I'm guessing you could delete the Spotify App off your phone and Class Builder would continue to steam music from Spotify.
Realizing that much of what I've written here is conjecture, I've scheduled an interview with the App's developer Gene Nacey, from Cycling Fusion, for early AM Friday. We'll explore this latest version of Class Builder. If you have any questions you'd like me to ask him - please leave a comment below. Friday 8/8 update: scheduling issues have moved this out until next week - stay tuned.
P.S. If you already own Class Builder, the Spotify option was included with the latest update. From the Home Screen go to Settings > tap the Spotify logo > enter your Spotify User and Password. If you've been playing with this please let us know your experiences.
Originally posted 2014-08-07 10:35:02.
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