This YouTuber Turned An Old iPod Into A Retro Spotify Player

Back when iPods were hip, the celebrated media player did not inherently support Spotify. Those who wanted to sync their Spotify library to an iPod had to download those tracks, convert them to DRM-free versions, and then transfer them. Now, even though the iPod is now officially a relic of the past, a YouTuber seems to have fixed the compatibility issue by creating a custom interface especially to play music from Spotify on his iPod Classic.

In May 2022, with the announced death of the iPod Touch, the iPod went obsolete. Anyone who has witnessed the evolution of the internet throughout the 2000s will concur about the iPod's impact on how we listened to digital music in the era. The general consensus was that digital media players such as the iPod revolutionized how we carried our favorite tracks around. The iPod Classic is an absolute legend because its large storage — as large as conventional PC hard drives at the time — allowed users to store a bajillion songs, podcasts, and music videos without compressing them.

The beloved iPod Classic is so timeless that you can still find many people trying to pawn it on platforms such as eBay at almost its launch price. However, the archaic interface and limitations due to dependence on iTunes for syncing files can still be as off-putting as they were back when iPods were still as refreshing as freshly plucked fruits.

A new streaming device in an iPod Classic's shell

A YouTuber with the alias Guy Dupont has used some DIY wizardry to convert his iPod Classic into a device to exclusively stream Spotify. The iPod Classic does not run the standard iPod interface but a custom one instead. Dupont swapped out the monochrome display with a colored one and chose a dark theme with text written on the green to go with the aesthetics of Spotify — and vaguely remind us of the Matrix movie series.

Note this DIY is not for novices and requires considerable technical know-how to understand the steps Dupont took to create the Spotify-streaming iPod Classic. There was a lot of retrofitting required; in fact, the only part intact from the original iPod Classic in this project is the case, which includes the round scroll wheel, the OK button in the center, and the lock slider up top.

Tweaks that improve the iPod Classic significantly

Among the changes made by the YouTuber, the iPod Classic is retrofitted with a Raspberry Pi Zero W module that brings Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity. The Raspberry Pi is used to run the custom interface shown in the video below. Even though Dupond chose to retain the 3.5mm headphone jack, it doesn't work. Other than that, the traditional Apple 30-pin docking adapter was also replaced by a micro-USB port for ease of charging.

The YouTuber also ensured the buttons on the front, including the click wheel, worked as intended. In addition, he added a vibration motor to add haptic feedback as a replacement to the clicker sound while navigating through the original iPod interface.

Overall, the ambitious and inspiring project is something to rejoice fans of the iPod Classic. Even if you cannot achieve the same with your iPod Classic, you can experience it vicariously by watching Dupont's second video, where he talks more about the project. If you do want to pursue this project and create your own retrofitted iPod Classic with exclusive Spotify support, you can find the details on the project's Hackaday page. Meanwhile, if you miss the iPod interface and would give anything to enjoy it — even in its virtual form, you can visit this virtual player designed like the iPod Classic, where you can sign in with your Spotify or Apple Music account to load your music library and listen to music through the iPod-esque interface.