Spobbler: A Spotify Scripting Server

Alexander Forselius (krakelin on Spotify) is the creator of Spobbler, an ingenious server app that lets you automatically control Spotify playlists. Using its own Spotiscript scripting language, Spobbler opens up a world of Spotify programming possibilities. Alex is also an artist in his own right, with several ambient electronic albums on Spotify under the name of Dr. Sounds. I was intrigued by Spobbler and its creator, so I got in touch with Alex and asked him to tell us more about Spobbler and what you could do with it. Check out the interview below!

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Hi Alexander, can you tell us what Spobbler is?

Spobbler is a scripting back-end for Spotify. It lets you write simple scripts to handle Spotify playlist actions. Based on libspotify-sharp, Spobbler can also scrobble user tasks: the name Spobbler comes from a fusion between Spotify and Last.fm’s scrobbler.

For the non-coder, Spobbler can use pre-defined scripts that you simply download from the Spobbler website and place in the Spotiscripts folder. Each script can be started or stopped independently of other scripts.

Why did you create Spobbler?

I created Spobbler because I love music and wanted to help Spotify communities to easily schedule playlist tasks in a simple but powerful way.

Who is Spobbler aimed at?

Spobbler is primarily aimed at webmasters and developers of Spotify playlist sharing sites. But anyone could use it to schedule and program regular playlist tasks (provided they have a Spotify Premium account and a little bit of programming knowledge).

How might a Spotify playlist sharing site use Spobbler?

Say a playlist site has a playlist called Latest Additions. When a user posts a playlist, a Spobbler script could read the playlist then update the Latest Additions playlist with the new songs. As this could be fairly complex to set up, Spobbler is designed so that a script can be run with multiple parameters. For example, I’ve provided a script that regularly checks Twitter feeds to add songs to a playlist. Spobbler can run several instances of script simultaneously, so each can have different parameters (in this case, different Twitter search queries).

How does Spobbler work?

Users run Spobbler with instances of JavaScript files (with some syntax modifications for spotiscripts) with custom parameters. These files have events that are implement and raises, depending on what happens in the Spotify client. Since it runs in the background, a script can, for example, collect song titles posted on a page or other feed and automatically add them to a playlist on a regular basis. In other words, Spobbler enables a “song server” that runs in the backend and automates the creation of playlists.

How do you set up Spobbler?

Download and unzip the zip file from spobbler.com. Copy the Spotiscripts folder to C:\spotiscripts. Be sure you have Spotify Premium then run spobbler.exe. Enter your Spotify login details (Spobbler does not store logins) and you’re good to go. You can then add an instance of any pre-defined script, update the script as necessary (for example, to specify a playlist) then run it.

What is Spotiscript?

Spotiscript is a scripting language with pointers similar to C/C++. However instead of pointing to a memory location, Spotiscript’s pointers point to web/uniform resources to create usable objects.

Here’s some example code:

var xmlResource = "http://www.somesite.td/feed.xml?topic=music";
var data = *xmlResource; // gives an XML feed
var title = data.getElementsByTagName("title")[0].innerText;
// in the future we able to do this:
var adress  = &data // gives "http://www.somesite.td/feed.xml?topic=music"

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When someone visits your homepage, a song automatically starts playing in Spotify — very cool! Can you tell us how that works?

This is an example of how someone can have background music on their website with the need for (possibly illegal) MP3s. The code is simple:

The session daisy is a flag which ensures the song won’t restart when the user changes page.

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Tell us a little about yourself and where you’re from!

I was born in Romania and discovered computers when I was around five years old. My social skills were poor (I had Asperger’s Syndrome) but I found I loved the logic and interaction with computers. I will soon graduate from Portalens Gymnasium Lidköping, majoring in Computing.

As Dr. Sounds, you also have several ambient electronic albums on Spotify released under your own label. What attracts you to this genre?

I had feelings I was connected to different worlds when I was young — probably due to adoption and dreams concerning a movie I watched repeatedly (“Casper the Hero“), but maybe also related to this health issue.

Who are your musical heroes?

Darude, notably his song Touch Me Feel Me. Also Brian Eno, who I discovered when promoting my music, and Oophoi who’s quite similar.

 

Thanks to Alexander for his participation in this interview!

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