How to solve the Spotify player – can’t play – issue on Linux

You know, modern start-ups (not all, but the most) put Linux behind macOS and Windows. And Spotify made no exception. The Linux app is available, it’s pretty and integrated, but it has a lot of issues that the counterparts do not have on Apple and Microsoft operating systems.

The most annoying issue you can find with the Spotify app on Linux is the ‘Can’t play the current song’ error. A blue band on top of the window app and no music from the speakers. Sometimes song start, sometimes not, but the most part of the time no sound at all.

Spotify Application Issue | The famous blue band can't play song
Spotify Application Issue | The famous blue band can’t play song

We did some research and we found a lot of troubleshooting and solutions, but no one was working for us. You can try all of these or you can skip at the bottom to our fully working and easy peasy solution, up to you.

Here what you can try to solve the ‘Can’t play the current song’ issue on Linux systems:

  • restart the app
  • check device connection on the multi-device system
  • check the installation of libavcodec, libavformat, and libavutil libraries on your system
  • try to restart pulseaudio with $ pulseaudio --kill && pulseaudio --start
  • check permissions on your Spotify library folder (for locale songs playing)
  • delete local_files.bnk in Spotify .config folder (if you use the Snap version, you can find it in the Snap folder)
  • re-install the Spotify app
  • try a different version of the Spotify app
  • try to not use the Snap version of the Spotify app
  • try to contact the Spotify support center

Now, our easy-easy and fully working solution. Tested on Fedora 30/31 and Ubuntu 16.04/18.04/19.10, but we can bet that it is working without issue also on all the other Linux distributions.

Spotify Application Issue | The 'Devices Available' button on the Spotify Linux App
Spotify Application Issue | The ‘Devices Available’ button on the Spotify Linux App

When you get the error on your Spotify app player, open the Spotify Web Player in your favorite browser and start playing a song. You should start hearing the audio from your speakers and you should see that the Spotify Linux App detects that the web player is playing a song.

Spotify Application Issue | The list to change the selection from Web Player to Linux App Player
Spotify Application Issue | The list to change the selection from Web Player to Linux App Player

Now, you can press the ‘Devices Available’ on your Spotify Linux App and you should see, among the others, the web player and the Linux app. You can select the Linux application by pressing on the relative button. After that, you should see the Spotify Linux App taking control and starts playing.

Summary:

  • get ‘Can’t play the current song’ error on the Linux application
  • open the Spotify Web Application and start playing a song
  • open ‘Available Devices’ on the Spotify Linux Application and change the active player from Web to Linux
  • [facultative] close the web player

In the end, you can close the Spotify Web Player and enjoy the Linux app. Usually, it’s sufficient to do this one time for the session when the ‘Can’t play the current song’ error occurs. No more actions are needed. We now that it is only a workaround, but it’s simple and it’s fully working. And, while waiting for the Spotify engineers to find a definitive solution, it can go just fine.

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