"The trouble with becoming dependent on technology... we're then completely at the mercy of something we have near zero little control over."
I learned a valuable lesson this past Thursday night > check your device to ensure your make available offline/downloaded Spotify playlists are in fact available offline/downloaded before you leave your house!
I'm adding this post to the Best Practices category.
I teach two classes on Thursday's; 6:00 am and 5:30 pm and use my iPhone 4s to deliver the music via Spotify. I like to use the same playlist for both classes and teach a similar class, even though the morning class is only 45 minutes. The morning class when off without a hitch but when I tried to cue up the same class that evening - it wasn't showing as available offline. In fact none of my Spotify playlists showed as playable 🙁
Quickly thinking back to another Best Practice post > when something isn't working, your first move should be to reboot (power down) the device. No help at all. Thankfully I still had a few playlists in iTunes and was able to carry on with a class I wasn't ready to teach.
Then this morning Amy had the same problem on her Android phone. This problem isn't limited to just iPhones. Thankfully she had checked this morning and was able to download her class before heading off to teach.
The Spotify forum has a number of posts describing the problem, but no solutions. I spend some time trying to replicate the problem without success. So beyond what I've listed below, my advice for Spotify user's is to check and confirm that the playlist you will be using is in fact ready for offline use.
Always have an alternate form of music ready and waiting!
- For years I had a "Rescue CD" tucked into my personal folder in the Dept Head's office. It's long gone. Today I'm burning a new one as I type this.
- Have an old, unused iPod laying around? Add a few of your old iTunes playlists and throw it into your gym bag, along with a charger cord and wall transformer. I just bought a few spare cord/chargers from Amazon.com for about $5 each.
- Subscribe to IndoorCyclingMusic.com's music podcast. These hour long mixed tracks on my iPhone have been lifesavers in the past. Because they're the actual mp3's they will be there as long as your device will turn on.
- Don't forget that Indoor Cycling DVD's include a soundtrack. They might not be to your taste, but could do in a pinch when everything else fails.
As a last resort (say the studio's sound system fails completely) be mentally prepared to coach a class without music. Coach Troy Jacobson has made a fortune walking around with a clipboard and stopwatch. Sure they add a soundtrack to the finished Spinervals Cycling DVD, but there was no music playing during the taping of the episode I participated in.
You may even go so far as to prepare for a future disaster by choosing to teach a quiet class where it's just you, doing your best impression of Coach Troy > except you would be prepared in advance.
Dave Santiago's Racing with Pro's class profile may have the structure you'll need to look prepared and sounding professional.
What are your suggestions?
Originally posted 2013-04-27 10:11:01.
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Thanks again John,
These best practices are fundamentally why I think ICI/PRO is the best GO TO source for us instructors in the trenches. Good advice that – when integrated into our daily routines – exemplifies the professionalism of our craft and what we do to make every class worth attending by our riders. Even on a bad day.
iTunes is not immune to such insidious atrocities as you mention. The differences in in user interface between IOS devices and the desk top/laptop versions is considerable. Finding a playlist on my iPad with its album cover default (one I’ve yet to break through) is very difficult no matter how long I’ve used it.
Many the time I have been utterly and totally taken by surprise after having spent hours organizing and editing my iTunes library. Then I – in ignorant bliss – sync it with my iDevices only to discover that I had deleted the wrong ‘duplicate’ or mistakenly added music to the laptop that was not on the desktop. And on and on.
Spotify is not my go to music delivery system, but it is no more or less reliable in all of its technical capacity than any other system. Alternate plan B is extremely good advice. I think I remember a post about employing smart phones that have been taken out of service, as your back up.
Thanks for the reminder, John! I do check my device before leaving home just to double check. I mostly teach from my iPad, but occasionally use the iPod or Android phone. I guess I’m just always a little paranoid that something might go wrong, so I review my class before leaving home. If something doesn’t download properly, you have to be at your main computer in order to open Spotify and then open it on the portable device. I carry a big bag and keep a cd, charger, and spare batteries (for the mic). One day I went into the studio and the adapter cord was missing! I now carry a spare.
One question – do you know if Spotify will bring back the “time” feature that used to show the total time of a playlist? It’s time consuming to add up all the minutes.
Good tips, John! I had some trouble this morning when my playlist started and was able to play offline, but then would stop and try to locate wifi mid-song. After checking to see that I had wifi turned off and it continuing to happen two more times, I aborted the mission and switched to an old itunes playlist. Luckily it was one I’ve coached a few times, but I will need to make sure that I keep some additional familiar playlists on there in the event that Spotify fails me again. So frustrating after you get all excited about a new playlist!
Thanks for the reminder about indoorcyclingmusic.com. I have the subscription (thanks to the contest) but need to take advantage of it and used it. I will be adding that to my to-do list this week as another form of back up.
Oh, and I just have to ask…which Spinervals are you in? I am in Sweating Buckets, which was filmed over 10 years ago! Small world:)!
John, I also have been a victim of the spotify offline syncing issue. But I would like to point out that along with and entire playlist not being available just certain songs can also not be available offline? I’m sure I’m like many instructors in that after I teach a new play list of songs I go back and tweak the playlist, taking out a song or two that I thought would work but may not have etc. It is during this updating of my playlist that I have not re-sync’d for offline use the newly added songs and then the next time I run that playlist the updated songs will not be available while the rest of the playlist will be. It is an awkward moment when you cue up the class for the 2 song climb to come and those 2 songs you recently added are not available offline and spotify jumps right over them.
Mike I’ve experienced similar issues > you make a change on your computer and it isn’t reflected on your phone. I guess the same cautions apply here = it’s critical that you open Spotify on your phone to check to see if the change has actually occurred before leaving home.