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Despite Apple’s decision last year to finally open up the HomePod to third-party music services, for whatever reason it seems that many have been slow to accept Apple’s invitation to the party. While Apple promised Amazon Music and Pandora would be arriving first, only the latter one actually seemed ready to go, and now another smaller upstart service may have just beaten Amazon to the punch.
While more popular streaming services like Amazon Prime and Spotify remain missing in action, Deezer has just announced that its subscribers will be able to enjoy all the fun of streaming music directly via the HomePod with nothing more than Siri voice commands.
Not surprisingly, the setup process and integration works much like it does with Pandora. You’ll need to download the latest version of the Deezer app from the App Store and then use it to pair your HomePod or HomePod mini with your Deezer account. Deezer notes that you’ll also need to be running at least iOS 14.3.
Once paired, Deezer fans can either set the streaming service as their default in the Apple Home app, in which case every request to the HomePod to “play” something will be automatically handled by Deezer, or they can simply suffix each request with “on Deezer” to call up the service specifically.
Along the same lines, Deezer users who want to occasionally request a track from Apple Music or Pandora can also simply append “from Apple Music” or “on Pandora” to their voice commands.
Notably, Deezer is making the service available for all of its Premium, HiFi, Family, and Student subscribers, meaning that those on its highest-quality tier will be able to enjoy “true lossless audio” on their HomePod — something that Apple Music can’t yet match (although some recent rumours suggest it could be coming soon).
How to Set It Up
Unfortunately, you will need to be a paying Deezer subscriber to take advantage of this integration. It’s not available on the service’s free tier, likely because that’s only limited to shuffle play anyway. If you are a Deezer Premium, Family, HiFi, or Student subscriber, however, here’s how you can set it up:
- Make sure you’ve updated to the latest version of Deezer from the App Store.
- Open the Deezer app
- Tap the “Settings” cog icon in the top-right corner.
- Scroll down and tap Connect with HomePod.
- Confirm on the following screen by tapping Use in Home.
- Tap Done.
This will link your Deezer account with your entire home, so if you have multiple HomePods scattered about, you won’t need to repeat this process for each one — you’ll simply be able to call up Deezer from anywhere and enjoy your tunes.
However, if you want to use Deezer as your default streaming service, there’s one more thing you’ll need to do to set it as the default:
- Open the Home app on your iPhone or iPad.
- Tap the house icon in the top-left corner.
- Tap Home Settings from the drop-down menu.
- Tap your avatar from the People section.
- Tap Default Service.
- Tap Deezer to set it as the default.
Once you’ve set Deezer to be your default music service, anytime you ask a HomePod to play something, it will automatically send it to Deezer.
The integration also supports Deezer-specific requests, so you can say things like “Hey Siri, play my Flow” to get an endless mix of your favourite tracks. You’ll also be able to like or dislike tracks or ask to play using repeat or shuffle mode.
Deezer on HomePod and HomePod mini is available in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Mexico, Spain, UK, and the USA.
What’s up with Spotify?
While the arrival of Pandora and Deezer are encouraging, we can imagine that a good number of Spotify’s 150 million+ listeners are wondering when we’ll actually see that streaming service get the HomePod treatment.
Unfortunately, Spotify has been dead quiet about this one. Even though the service has been complaining for years about being blocked from the HomePod, they don’t seem to be in any big hurry to actually jump on board now that Apple has finally opened up its smart speaker.
Of course, Spotify and Apple have been engaged in a private little war for a couple of years already, but there’s no reason to believe that would result in Apple blocking Spotify outright now that it’s opened the service up. While Apple clearly isn’t mentioning Spotify by name among third-party music services that are supported, we’re fairly confident that’s just marketing, as Apple isn’t about to give any free advertising to its biggest competitor, especially one that’s been raising antitrust concerns in the EU for the past two years.
So, the ball is almost certainly in Spotify’s court, and while it may be cutting off its nose to spite its face right now, since it wants to do everything it can to make its case against Apple, our guess is that the streaming company is really just moving at its usual glacially slow pace when it comes to offering these sorts of new apps and features.
For example, after Apple opened up Siri to third-party music services in iOS 13, it still took Spotify several months before that came to its iOS apps, even though Pandora had it working only days after the public iOS 13 release.
Likewise, Spotify finally rolled out an Apple Watch app in late 2018, but it took two more years before it became anything more than a glorified remote control for the iPhone app. While some of that may have been due to technical limitations in watchOS related to copy protection, it’s still clear that Spotify has a long history of dragging its heels when it comes to adding new apps and features on Apple devices.
Plus, the fact that we’re still waiting on Amazon Music, which was announced by Apple as one of the partners last fall, suggests that there’s more to making this all work than simply throwing a switch. In fact, this may be the most ironic in the case of Amazon Music, which has naturally worked well with voice commands on Amazon’s own Alexa platform for years. However, we don’t really know how much back-end engineering and development is required to make it work with Apple’s HomePod ecosystem.
Still, we know the foundation has been laid, so we can continue to hope that some of the more popular streaming services will land on the HomePod soon, especially with how versatile and affordable the new HomePod mini has become.