Evan Nishi's Spotify Display Offers a Low-Res, Raspberry Pi Zero W-Powered Look at What's Playing
Student Evan Nishi has put together a low-resolution yet eye-catching now-playing display for Spotify, using an Adafruit RGB Matrix HAT connected to a 32×64 RGB LED matrix and driven by a Raspberry Pi Zero W single-board computer.
"The matrix was programmed in Python and automatically updates album cover/author/title and the progress bar based on your current song," Nishi explains of his project. "It's quite sloppy coding and hardware wise but I'm still pretty happy with how it came out."
The heart of the system is a Raspberry Pi Zero W, the low-cost single-board computer that lacks the performance of its full-size stablemates but includes near-complete software compatibility and a fully-accessible 40-pin general-purpose input/output (GPIO) header. To this, Nishi added an Adafruit RGB Matrix Bonnet — though notes the full-size HAT variant will also work — to drive a 64×32 matrix of RGB LEDs.
There's little to the hardware assembly bar a possible modification to enable pulse-width modulation control (PWM) to reduce flickering, plus the option of removing the pitchfork connectors pre-fitted to cabling in favor of terminal blocks to prevent shorts.
On the software side, everything is driven by a custom Python program, which comes with a handy setup script for installation of prerequisites — though it's up to the user to sign up for the Spotify application programming interface (API) and generate the secrets required to connect the Raspberry Pi to their Spotify account.
Nishi isn't the only fan of low-resolution LED matrices for album art display: Last year Kyle Johnson showed off a similar, though larger-format, display which used a 64x64 matrix for album art — driven by PowerShell, Rainmeter, and Flaschen Taschen.
The project's source code is published on Nishi's GitHub repository, under the reciprocal Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.