Music fans have been calling on Spotify to bring the Friend Activity sidebar from the desktop version to mobile for what seems like a lifetime, and it now finally looks like they’re about to get their wish.
Up until now, the feature, which allows you to see what your Spotify friends or Facebook contacts are currently streaming ,has somewhat inexplicably never been available on Android or iOS mobile versions of the app.
But it now looks like that functionality is set to finally be available at last to music fans on the go.
Originally “spotted” by Hashtag inventor and all round tech icon Chris Messina, it appears the streaming service is testing a new Spotify “Community” tab for mobile devices which seems to offer broadly the same experience as Friend Activity, displaying what music your friends and Facebook contacts are streaming in real time as well as what playlists they’ve recently updated.
Ready? Here's my secret! Spotify has a new Community Hub to see what your friends are listening to live and what playlists they've recently updated.I have no idea who Andrew Orona is, though. 😂Want access? SuperFollow me and I'll tell you how! 😝#NewSpotify #SocialAudio pic.twitter.com/hmlA52CVEjJune 1, 2022
Interestingly, the test area can be accessed by anyone with an iOS device. If you fancy having a mooch around and have an iPhone or iPad, simply type in "spotify:community" in your Safari address bar.
New Community feature takes Spotify back to its social roots
The rise of Spotify was in no small part shaped by the way it dovetailed nicely with emerging social media platforms of the time like Facebook, which encouraged the sharing and editing of playlists. It meant that Spotify was the streaming service to get, because you couldn't listen to what was being shared everywhere otherwise. It was its greatest triumph, and is what rivals such as Tidal at its launch failed to copy, leaving them way behind on popularity.
The addition of this new Community feature for mobile apps alongside the recent addition of "Blends" – a tool that allows you to cook up new playlists with pals based on both of your musical tastes – shows something of a return to Spotify’s early aims of inspiring music discovery through your friends listening habits.
Let’s just hope that Spotify moves with the times and allow Community to link up with other social networks beyond the now achingly unhip Facebook, otherwise all we’re likely to be exposed to is your uncle’s boomer Britpop mix rather than some fresh new bangers.
A return to great social features could be exactly what Spotify needs, in an era where it doesn't feel like such good value compared to its rivals these days.
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Kevin Lynch is a London-born, Dublin-based writer and journalist. The author of Steve Jobs: A Biographic Portrait, Kevin is a regular feature writer for a number of tech sites and the former Technology Editor for the Daily Mirror. He has also served as editor of GuinnessWorldRecords.com and has been a member of the judging panel for the BAFTA British Academy Video Game Awards. Alongside reviewing the latest AV gear, smartphones and computers, Kevin also specialises in music tech and can often be found putting the latest DAWs, MIDI controllers and guitar modellers through their paces. Born within the sound of Bow Bells, Kevin is also a lifelong West Ham fan for his troubles.