Spotify wants to share your listening habits in real time

Spotify is experimenting with a new feature called “Community”, which promises to let subscribers see what their friends are listening to in real time through the mobile app.

The feature – which is being tested, but not yet officially released – will also notify users when their friends update playlists.

While Spotify has long offered similar functionality through its desktop experience with the Friend Activity feature, this has largely taken a back seat in recent years as the company has prioritized podcasts and its mobile app.

In 2019, Spotify rejected a user’s request to integrate Friend Activity into its iOS and Android apps. The request – which appeared on its community forums – received 7,451 upvotes, suggesting significant user interest.

A boost to differentiation

Early incarnations of Spotify had a strong social element. At the time, that made sense. Facebook and Twitter were the hottest digital properties.

Its biggest competitor was Last.fm, which blurred the line between niche music social network and streaming service.

As Spotify grew, its focus shifted. He emphasized personalization and exclusive content. He pivoted to podcasts, taking over legendary studio Gimlet Media and buying the rights to The Joe Rogan Experience.

So what has changed? Well, Spotify’s market leading position is no longer certain. Apple Music and Amazon Music hold a large market share, with 13% and 15% respectively, according to analyst house MIDIA. Spotify’s share, if you’re curious, is 31%.

By adding social features, Spotify can further differentiate its product from its competitors, without needing to spend a lot of money on platform-exclusive content.

Take a look

Spotify has yet to officially launch Community. But, if you’re curious, you can preview it by typing “Spotify:Community” into Safari on your iOS device.

Credit goes to tech investor (and hashtag creator) Chris Messina, who spotted the feature in a major software update released earlier this month.

Music is fundamentally personal. I can’t be alone in my reluctance to share my listening habits with my Facebook friends, family, and casual acquaintances. When the feature finally rolls out, I’ll be among the first to turn it off.

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Matthew Hughes is a journalist from Liverpool, England. His interests include security, startups, food and storytelling. Past work can be found on The Register, Forbes, The Next Web and Business Insider.