Will this new Spotify video feature change the way we listen to albums? Here’s what we know so far

Spotify Album Preview Feature Header
(Image credit: Future)

In the wake of the Spotify Daylist phenomena and its short-form video features, many Spotify users have spotted another new video feature that lets you quickly preview albums in the Spotify app – making the album listening experience less time consuming. 

The new feature is a short-form video feed which allows you to vertically scroll through an album in chronological order. It can be found on an artist’s profile page and also the vast majority of albums and playlists on Spotify, located under the album/ playlist cover and next to the download icon and three-dot menu. 

At last year's Stream On event, Spotify introduced new feed features to the app for discovering new music. The added features allow users to explore their favourite artists and genres, and to preview songs at a quick glance from Spotify's most popular playlists. 

We've since heard back from representatives at Spotify about the new feature, and you can find the comments at the end of this article. 

Spotify Album Preview Feature

Spotify's preview feature in an album  (Image credit: Future)

As well as a looped Canvas visual, a 30-second snippet of each song will play to accompany the video, displaying up to three hashtags that contextualize each song’s vibe and genre. The feature seems to be designed to condense album listening into a quick and snappy experience with more short-form video elements coming to the app. Tell us you’re trying to be TikTok without telling us, Spotify. 

Since its roll-out, the feature (below) has sparked discussions online particularly in the r/truespotify Reddit forum.

Spotify album preview feature

(Image credit: Future)

The feature experience may vary for some users, and we’ve noticed it appearing in different forms for us at TechRadar. While some might have full access to the feature when viewing albums, singles, and artist profiles, others are only able to access it in the latter. 

At the moment, we don’t know which regions it’s being rolled out to, but we'll update this story when more information is announced. 

Spotify Artist Profile

(Image credit: Future)

Analysis: The album's swansong?

I first noticed the feature a few days ago and thought it was just another step in the TikTokification of Spotify, but experimenting with it has opened my eyes to its benefits and potential pitfalls. 

There’s no doubt that the preview feature can save you a shedload of time when listening to an album. Particularly in the age of streaming, it’s easy to fall into the trap of skipping to the middle of a song to sample an artist’s music before fully committing to a thorough listening session. 

Therefore, if you’re not a fan of sitting through an entire body of work then you could use the feature to compress your total listening time and help you to quickly determine if you’re going to like an album or not. 

Spotify preview feature

(Image credit: Future)

While the feature could be great for its convenience, fans of traditional albums might be less keen. I'm an avid music fan who loves to listen to full-length albums in their entirety, so hopefully this doesn't become Spotify's default listening experience.

After all, 30 seconds isn’t a lot of time to see a song’s full potential and the preview feature doesn’t allow you to experience the segues between songs in an album. It could take us further into a worrying territory where it becomes common to quickly dismiss music after a short first-time listen. 

Still, I'm certainly not writing off the feature and, while it's frustrating to see Spotify bring more TikTok elements to the app instead of improving audio quality, it’s another niche addition that has the potential to please a lot of Spotify fans.

Update: We've been in touch with Spotify who has said the feature was launched to users in select markets and across playlists including Discover Weekly, Release Radar, New Music Friday, and RapCaviar. Spotify has been rolling the feature globally to Free and Premium users on iOS and Android, expanding the feature's access to artist pages, album pages, and podcasts.

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Editorial Associate

Rowan is an Editorial Associate and Apprentice Writer for TechRadar. A recent addition to the news team, he is involved in generating stories for topics that spread across TechRadar's categories. His interests in audio tech and knowledge in entertainment culture help bring the latest updates in tech news to our readers.