Spotify is testing a controversial new feature, and subscribers aren't happy

spotify family
(Image credit: Spotify)

Spotify's latest test feature is allowing some artists to promote NFTs on their profiles, and – as is often the case with non-fungible tokens – the community response has been rather sour, to say the least.

Music Ally reports that this latest Spotify test is currently limited to a select few Android users in the US, who are able to view NFT galleries being promoted by artists including Steve Aoki and The Wombats. When browsing these galleries, users are then able to tap on an NFT of their choice, which will take them to an external market listing where they're able to buy the token.

A Spotify spokesperson told Music Ally: "Spotify is running a test in which it will help a small group of artists promote their existing third-party NFT offerings via their artist profiles.

"We routinely conduct a number of tests in an effort to improve artist and fan experiences. Some of those tests end up paving the way for a broader experience and others serve only as an important learning."

The mere presence of NFTs is usually enough to court controversy, and that's exactly what's happened on social media, although a not-insignificant amount of cryptocurrency and NFT enthusiasts have touted support for the feature.

However, a survey released to some subscribers heavily leaned into the topic of NFTs, which has left many scratching their heads, or considering cancelling their subscription altogether.

A sign of the future, or a flash in the pan?

To be clear, Spotify isn't profiting from the sales of NFTs here; rather it's offering an outlet for artists to promote their own galleries using the streaming app as a platform to do so. 

That said, NFTs have a spotty reputation at best. Many cite the harmful environmental impact that minting NFTs and cryptocurrencies has on the planet, as well as their ties to pyramid schemes or 'rug pulls'.

Of course, Spotify isn't the only game in town when it comes to trialling NFT promotion. Instagram has also thrown its hat into the ring, allowing its users to promote NFT galleries through the app. Samsung also supports the viewing and purchasing of NFTs through many of its latest smart TVs.

Even as NFT sales have declined by around 92% since last year, interest remains high among several tech giants. Yet as Spotify outlines in its statement to Music Ally, its recent test of NFT galleries aren't necessarily indicative of a larger play. 

We imagine that Spotify will likely run a few tests around NFT galleries across the globe after this initial run among US-based Android users. And the deciding factors in whether or not the company chooses to pursue the feature further will lie in general audience feedback, and engagement with the galleries themselves.

For our money, we can't see NFT galleries gaining much traction on Spotify. While they at least make a modicum of sense for an app like Instagram, which is much more reliant on a visual experience, NFTs ultimately aren't a great fit for an app which most subscribers use passively, throwing on their favorite artists, playlists or podcasts.

Rhys Wood
Hardware Editor

Rhys is TRG's Hardware Editor, and has been part of the TechRadar team for more than two years. Particularly passionate about high-quality third-party controllers and headsets, as well as the latest and greatest in fight sticks and VR, Rhys strives to provide easy-to-read, informative coverage on gaming hardware of all kinds. As for the games themselves, Rhys is especially keen on fighting and racing games, as well as soulslikes and RPGs.