Spotify is developing ‘Community,’ a new place to see your friends’ activity in the mobile app – TechCrunch

Spotify is developing a new feature called Community that will allow mobile users to see what kind of music their friends are streaming in real time, as well as what playlists they have recently updated in a dedicated place in the app. The company today offers a similar “friend activity” feature on the desktop, but had restricted users’ access to the same friend activity on mobile devices.

Spotify reached out for a comment, confirming that the feature was in the early testing phases, but declined to share more details.

The company’s roots as a social music streaming app had helped the company grow in earlier days by leveraging its Facebook integration to build its friend graph. But in recent years, Spotify has looked more towards personalization features to give it an edge over streaming rivals. Playlists tailored to the individual listener – like Spotify’s flagship Discover Weekly, for example – had helped attract and retain users more than watching what friends were streaming. As a result, the company’s focus on users’ personal friend networks was toned down in the product.

Although some people still wanted access to their mobile friend activity, in 2019 the company dropped plans to add this feature after a user request on its community forums received around 7,451 votes.

Now it looks like Spotify may be changing course.

Although not publicly available in the app at this time, mobile users can access this new community feature by typing “spotify: community” in the Safari browser on their iOS device. The addition was first discovered by Chris Messinawho shared a video of the feature on Twitter earlier this month amid a lengthy list of Spotify app updates.

In the Community Hub displayed in the app, you’ll see a horizontal row of playlist updates at the top of the page, then a vertical drop-down list of friends and what they’re listening to now, along with timestamps for when that listening took place.

For those who are actively listening, animated music equalizer bars appear next to their name and music selections. Otherwise, the screen will show you when your friend had listened to Spotify and what they had streamed. In an updated version of the Community tab, Spotify also added timestamps to the playlist updates so you can see the latest additions.

The function does not appear to be fully functional in our tests. You can currently tap the playlists to view the playlist, but tapping a friend’s music does not let you play the song either. This is likely to change when or if the feature becomes publicly available.

Although Spotify has not prioritized its Friend Activity features, it still has a close relationship with Meta (Facebook). Spotify users’ social graphs today are still dependent on a Facebook integration – despite the fact that younger generations are now more often discovering new music via TikTok and many Gen Z users do not have a Facebook account at all. Last year, for example, Spotify and Facebook collaborated on a mini-player that would stream Spotify from the Facebook app. However, Facebook competed with Spotify on podcasts for a short period of time before suspending a series of audio projects to focus instead on its metaverse efforts.

The addition of a social feature on the mobile would be even more exciting if it was disconnected from Facebook in some way, but the current version of the feature does not indicate that this is the case.

William

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