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

Spotify is developing a new feature called Community that will allow mobile users to see in real time what kind of music their friends are streaming and what playlists they have recently updated in a special place in the app. The company now offers a similar “Friend Activity” feature on the desktop, but had limited user access to that same friend activity on mobile devices.

Spotify reached out for comment and confirmed the feature was in early testing but declined to share more details.

The companies roots as a social music streaming app had helped the company grow in earlier days by using its Facebook integration to build out its friends chart. But in later years, Spotify looked more towards personalization features to give it an advantage over streaming rivals. Playlists tailored to the individual listener, such as Spotify’s flagship Discover Weekly, helped attract and retain users more than seeing what friends were streaming. As a result, the company’s emphasis on users’ personal networks of friends was less emphasized in the product.

While some people still wanted to access their friends activity on mobile, in 2019 the company shot down plans to add this feature after a user request it received some 7,451 votes on its community forums.

Now it looks like Spotify is changing course.

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

In the Community hub that appears in the app, you’ll see a horizontal row of Playlist Updates at the top of the page, then a vertically scrollable list of friends and what they’re listening to now, along with timestamps on when that listening happened.

For those who actively listen, animated music equalizer bars appear next to their name and music selection. Otherwise, the screen will show you when your friend had listened to Spotify and what he had streamed. In an updated version of the Community tab, Spotify has also added timestamps to playlist updates so you can check out the most recent additions.

The feature does not appear to be fully functional in our testing. You can currently tap the playlists to see the song list, but tapping a friend’s music won’t let you play the song either. That will likely change when or if the feature becomes publicly available.

While Spotify has not prioritized its Friend Activity features, it continues to have a close relationship with Meta (Facebook). Spotify users’ social charts today still rely on a Facebook integration – despite the fact that younger generations are now discovering new music more often through TikTok and many Gen Z users don’t even have no 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 recently competed with Spotify on podcasts discontinuation of a series of audio projects to focus on his metaverse endeavors instead.

The addition of a social feature on mobile would be even more exciting if it were somehow disconnected from Facebook, but the current version of the feature doesn’t indicate this is the case.

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