Swedish music streaming service Spotify has launched a major upgrade to the Spotify experience giving users more ways to connect to new music. The big vibe with these new features is social media, in two flavors: Facebook and music sharing.
Daniel Ek, Spotify’s founder and chief executive, described latest upgrade as “the biggest change to Spotify since our launch”, users will be able to create a Spotify Music Profile, add friends within Spotify or import their Facebook friend list and browse their friends’ music collections.
“One of the good things about file sharing was that it enabled people with separate music taste to connect and to discover music through browsing their collection,” Daniel Ek told the Telegraph. “What we’ve found out is that people discover more music because it is social and they trust their friends more than they trust a stranger, obviously, but they also trust people with similar music taste.”
The Facebook integration lets users hook their Spotify information flow into their Facebook account, so your friends can see what you’re listening to (and Spotify of course gets free advertising by have their name all over Facebook).
There’s also Spotify Profiles, which gives everyone a unique ID so they can recommend artists, songs and playlists to other Spotify friends. They’ve added a feed so that you can stay current on what your friends are listening to.
They’ve also added improved phone integration, so that you can download your playlist for offline use. This is where Spotify stops streaming your music and literally makes a copy that you own. This puts them in direct competition with the new Rhapsody player with same feature.
“You can now use Spotify as your primary music source – and only music source,” Ek said. “Not only that but it’s connected in the sense that people can see your music connection and you can see their music collection.”
Ek said the upgrade had taken more than six months “but in the end there were probably more than 20 of them working on this”. He added: “I think we went from two or three million lines of code to more than 10 million.”
The full list of new features, which will be made available to both free and premium users, includes:
- Connect to Facebook: you can connect to Facebook inside of Spotify, instantly adding all your Facebook friends who’ve selected the same feature. Your friends’ profiles will appear in a new ‘People’ sidebar at the right of the screen, with your personal profile at the top.
- Add usernames: you can also add people by typing their Spotify username, should you know it, into the Spotify search field. For example searching ‘spotify:user:username’ will bring up their profile (if their profile is published).
- Publish your Spotify profile to the web: easily publish the link to your Spotify profile on your blog, Facebook page, website or anywhere else on the web and allow others to follow your musical journey. For example here’s a link to the official Spotify profile.
- Inbox: a new ‘inbox’ folder on Spotify’s left sidebar lets you send tracks to friends directly within the platform, simply by dragging and dropping a track to their name in the People sidebar. Alternatively, just right click on the track and select the new ‘send to’ option.
- Facebook feed: music your friends have posted on Facebook will be visible on the Spotify ‘What’s new’ page and via a new ‘Feed’ tab.
- Popularity count for playlists: all playlists will show how many other Spotify users are currently subscribed to that playlist. By clicking on the number, you can even see the usernames of those who added the playlist.
- Track playlist changes: see who and when a track was added to a playlist with the new ‘Added’ and ‘User’ columns in playlists.
- Local files: missing any music in Spotify? Now you can import a link to all the music files stored on your computer with a simple click of a button.
- Gracenote: As with any good music media player, if you have missing or incorrect track information you need software to check those files and automatically correct them so that you can better organise and link them to our catalogue. Gracenote does just this.
- Local file linking: we will check your local files and see if we have that track/artist/album in Spotify. If we do, we’ll make the file linkable so you can easily go from that file into an artist or album page. This allows for better sharing of playlists that contain a mix of your own music and Spotify’s.
- Starred: every track and album on Spotify can now be ‘starred’ – allowing you to tag all your favourites into a special sub-folder.
- Wireless sync: you can copy your music files to your mobile without connecting a USB cable with our new wireless sync feature.
- Filter bar: the library has a permanent filter-bar at the top so you can easily type in what you’re searching for. In all other lists the filter bar is visible when pressing cmd-f (mac) or ctrl-f (windows).
- Mosaic images for playlists: the artwork from the first nine tracks in a playlist will create a cool mosaic image for your playlist
- New toolbar in headers: Sharing music to Facebook/Twitter and your friends is much simpler. Easy to subscribe or unsubscribe to a playlist as well as view information about how popular a playlist is.
- A share icon in ‘Now playing’ artwork: makes sharing what you’re currently listening to much easier.
- Automatic track replacement: Spotify will now automatically try to find a replacement for any track you can’t play. So if a friend in another country sends you a playlist with tracks you can’t play or a local file, we’ll search our catalogue and link to a playable track when possible. A ‘link’ icon next to the track name represents replaced tracks.
The new version of the Spotify application will be made available to some users today and will be gradually be rolled-out to everyone over the next few weeks. Spotify’s mobile apps will also update with the new features at the same time.
Spotify also has plans for a U.S. launch later this year. It’s been known as a highly popular European phenomenon until now (7 million euromembers) , but they’re looking to cash in on an American audience. Spotify has been buying server space in North America in anticipation of the launch. [Spotify via The Daily Telegraph (UK)]