Spotify “Running” Mode
22 Sep 2015

Spotify “Running” Mode

A hands on review of the new “running” feature on Android Spotify app.

Spotify had recently added a running feature to its Android app. This app has been available on iOS for some time now and as usual, the Android release was somewhat belated. Windows phone user may have to wait a good while yet.

The premise of the app is simple; it matches the rhythm of your steps to songs with the same BMP (beats per minute). You can choose a genre in the form of a curated playlist and there is also an option to listen to songs that actually modulate the BPM according to your pace, a bit like the demo songs on old midi keyboards, where you can adjust the tempo.

Running and music go together like strawberries and cream. It can keep you motivated and spur you on. I never train without Spotify and my creatively titled “Running” playlist, so I was very interested to give this feature a go.

It is very important to note, that the Android version of this app does not currently have the feature that automatically matches the BPM to your stride; instead you have to manually enter it on the app. This instantly throw up two fatal flaws. Firstly, who the fuck knows the equivalent BPM of their stride?! Secondly, unless you happen to run at a perfectly consistent pace, you will have to fiddle around with your phone every time you want the app to throw out appropriately paced music.

I tested the feature on an 8km run, using their “Mood Booster” playlist and entered a guess of 169 steps per minute.


Elapsed Time Moving Time Distance Average Speed Max Speed Elevation Gain
00:41:56 00:41:31 8.02 11.58 18.72 0.00
hours hours km km/h km/h meters
Elapsed Time Moving Time Distance
00:41:56 00:41:31 8.02
hours hours km
Average Speed Max Speed Elevation Gain
11.58 18.72 0.00
km/h km/h meters
I like listening to new music, but when running I like songs that are instantly accessible. The playlist was generally quite good. It threw out largely appropriate music (the Dolly Parton song was a little unexpected) and kept me entertained for the length of my run, although I didn’t bother stopping to change the BMP when I changed my pace.

In conclusion, the Android version of this app is pretty useless. The premise is very good, but without that automated stride detection, this just isn’t going to pan out. Hopefully Spotify will add this feature in the near future. It would also be good if there was a column in your own music library, which showed the BPM of each song, so you could compile your own playlists for various paces.