Microsoft Teases Spotify Integration with Windows 11

Posted on August 6, 2021 by Paul Thurrott in Spotify, Windows 11 with 23 Comments

Microsoft’s Panos Panay has teased a coming Windows 11 feature called Focus sessions that will include, among other things, Spotify integration.

“Another first look from the team … Focus sessions on Windows 11 [is] coming soon,” Mr. Panay tweeted. “This has been a game-changer for me, especially with Spotify integration.”

His tweet includes an all-too-short promotional video that Windows enthusiasts will pore over like it’s the Zapruder film. But here’s what we can see: Focus sessions is a new feature that’s being added to the Alarms & Clock app, which has been renamed to Clock in Windows 11. And it sits alongside this app’s other features, like Timers, Alarms, Stopwatch, and World clock. It will apparently be the default view in the app in Windows 11.

According to the UI shown in the video, Focus sessions will help you “achieve your goals and get more done.” First, you configure some amount of time, as with a timer, and an optional break. Then, you select a task for the session from your tasks list in To Do.

Then, you choose a Spotify playlist to enjoy while you complete that task.

And then you just start the focus session and get to work. The feature also tracks your daily progress with focus sessions, in a nod to the gamification we see in mobile productivity apps.

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Comments (23)

23 responses to “Microsoft Teases Spotify Integration with Windows 11”

  1. sherlockholmes

    How much did Spotify pay them? Windows 11 is looking more and more uninteresting right now.

    • bart

      This is a dumb argument. Just don't use the feature??‍♂️

      • sherlockholmes

        Thank you for your opinion. I have mine.

        • nickysreensaver

          and yours is bad.

          • sherlockholmes

            This is exactly the kind of feature Paul complains for years after years. That Microsoft puts more and more crap into Windows. I can say right away that this feature will go away because nobody will use it.

            • wright_is

              I agree, although it depends. The setting up timed tasks is a good idea.

              The question is, whether the Spotify integration is simply a form of "file association", or rather service association, or whether Spotify is hard coded into the tool. If it is the former and any service can be plugged in to be activated, that is a nice move - although it sounds a lot like Task Scheduler on steroids, as opposed to an extended clock app. The other problem is, if it allows the integration of services, it could be a simple way to get malware onto a system and keep it silent until some event or some time has elapsed - although they can do that today with Task Scheduler, as some of the crypto malware has shown after the Exchange bugs earlier in the year.

              • wright_is

                Ah, sorry, misunderstood it on first read. The using it for malware would be more difficult to disguise than I originally though, on the first read through.

            • ianbetteridge

              Hard disagree. This is an excellent feature and one that I would use every day. I've yet to find any really good Pomodoro timer and focus/distraction free application for Windows.

            • casaout

              Actually, I wouldn't call this crap, but a necessity in today's distraction-driven world.

              There is enough research showing that distractions and interruptions are one of the biggest impediments to productivity, and people have a hard time to focus.

              Having a tool where you (1) commit to a task for a (2) short and manageable timespan (e.g. 30mins) and listen to (3) music that helps you get into the flow, is scientifically proven to be helpful (look for e.g. "Pomodoro" or "Focused Work Session" studies). Obviously, having this as a separate (third-party) app would be just as useful, and there seems to be a prominent promotion of Spotify.

              I only wish that during such a focus session, it will also be possible to disable notifications (and possibly even block some apps and websites), only then (most) people can truly focus on their task(s).

  2. nbplopes

    Sounds good on paper. Like everything that MS announces.

    I personally need to trust MS back … Apple decisions are annoying me the heck out of me.

    At the moment if MS got it self a nice Windroid OS I might even give it a try :)

  3. blue77star


  4. VancouverNinja

    This is fantastic.

    And for those complaining it should be open - I will bet you dollars to cents that any music service that would like to be available in this feature would be welcomed 100% by Microsoft.

  5. bart

    Not sure how anyone can complain about this. An independent service adding a feature to Windows 11 you don't have to use if you don't like it.

    • sharps

      It's feature bloat the same as Ms are doing with Edge. I do not want see any product placement "ads" in windows.

  6. cnc123

    Windows should be neutral on this, and not using its market power to advantage specific third parties. Build an API for this. Don't use Windows to disadvantage Apple Music, YouTube Music, Deezer, Tidal, Amazon, etc.

    • lvthunder

      How do you know there isn’t an API and they just used Spotify to show how the feature works?

    • jdawgnoonan

      Exactly, an API so you connect the service of your choice would be a far superior option. What would really be annoying would be if every time this feature is used non-Spotify users have to look at a Spotify ad or a suggestion to use Spotify.

      • ekim

        You mean like we have to look at every time we go to Google with anything other than Chrome?

  7. mattbg

    It's a nice idea, but the reason I find it difficult to focus on in my workday isn't mainly because Windows doesn't have support for it :)

    Does this also do something like put you in a zen-like mode where the notifications are off, and the only apps you can see are the things you need to complete your task? That would be very helpful.

    • casaout

      yes! I agree that blocking interruptions are a must for this feature. It's sad that Microsoft doesn't allow developers to change the Focus Assist feature in Windows, I hope that this changes (now that Apple macOS supports it...)

  8. ecumenical

    Built in pomodoro is pretty cool, but the Spotify tie in feels weird.

  9. dkrowe

    I use Alarms & Clock in 10 for the alarms, but don't like that it always opens on Timers and there is no way to change this behavior. Now that Focus Sessions "will apparently be the default view in the app", it may be time to look for a single purpose alarm app.

  10. samp

    Looks good - as long as I can choose my own music provider and not need to use Spotify. I hope they are just using it in the promo, and I will be able to use, for example, YouTube Music.

    It a bit sad in MSFT starts promoting Spotify over others.