Spotify’s test of a Friends tab on mobile hints at expanded social ambitions – TechCrunch

Spotify’s success with Wrapped, its end-of-year balance sheet, designed for social sharing, can push the company to create more social experiences directly in its mobile application. The company has been testing different iterations of a “friends activity” tab on its mobile app for many months, and investors have now taken notice. During the streamer’s Q4 earnings call earlier today, the company was asked to clarify some details about its social plans. Although Spotify CEO Daniel Ek declined to comment on the specific feature the investor asked about, he didn’t dismiss the idea of ​​Spotify becoming a more social platform. Instead, he replied that social could become “a significant driver in creating an even more sticky and engaging experience” for the company.

The exec was responding to an investor question about Spotify’s recent testing of a “Friends tab,” which appears in the app’s bottom navigation bar for certain subsets of Spotify users. Although it is only an experiment for the moment, the test already received many positive reviews from the members of the test group.

On Twitter, for example, Spotify users have summer request business to please add their to the test group if they did not have access to the feature, or have summer complain when they were removed from the test group and their Friends tab disappeared. Others asked Spotify when the feature would be rolled out more widely.

So far, Spotify hasn’t made any public announcements about its plans to launch a Friends tab on mobile, or answered questions from testers.

The company, however, had signaled interest in an expanded set of social features last year when it started. test a Community tab on its application. This variant offered a dedicated space to see music friends were streaming on the app as well as playlists they had recently updated. Spotify the desktop app includes similar functionalitybut users’ access to this same activity on mobile devices is limited.

At the time, Spotify confirmed to TechCrunch that it was in the early stages of testing the Community feature and provided no further information on its plans.

These tests have since evolved, and the experience has been given its own “Friends” button in a prominent place in the app’s main navigation. According to images posted by testersthe Friends tab includes a “weekly picks” section at the top, in a story-like format, followed by a stream of friend listening activity, much like you’d see in the desktop experience of Spotify.

This release may still not be the final concept, and there is no guarantee that the feature will be released for good.

On the investor call, Ek declined to comment specifically on the Friends tab test, saying the company was running a lot of experiments and “what you’ve probably seen is one of those experiments – and since we don’t We don’t commit to rolling it out, I don’t really have a comment, but he didn’t downplay the company’s focus on social as a whole, suggesting it remains an area of ​​focus.

“We are committed to creating the best audio experience for consumers and creators around the world. And obviously, social could be a significant driver in creating an even stickier and more engaging experience,” the CEO clarified.

The company, no doubt, has seen the traction that its custom year-end review called Spotify Wrapped is bringing to its service and wants to know if adding more year-round social features would have a similar impact.

As the company noted during its earnings release, its eighth version of Wrapped broke new records, with 156 million monthly active users engaging with its content – ​​a metric up 30% year over year. other. Wrapped has also boosted other areas of Spotify’s business, he said. The company recorded its highest-grossing merchandise sales for artists to date during the week Wrapped was live. And it resulted in a 2.7x increase in visitors to artist tour pages, while increasing user engagement across all regions and demographics.

While Spotify’s Friends tab isn’t an introspective look at your own listening behavior, it would be another way to engage with friends in a social environment. An earlier version of the Friends tab even showed a way to follow other users right in the app, plus track new songs friends added to playlists and songs they had “on loop”.

Spotify needs to create its own social experiences as the younger generation of consumers moves away from traditional social networks, where they create a graph of friends, to spend more time on entertainment apps, like TikTok – which has proven to be a powerful influence on music charts.

Although Spotify hasn’t prioritized its friends activity features for years, it has maintained a close relationship with Meta for social integrations. Today, Spotify users’ social charts continue to rely on Facebook, even though many Gen Z users don’t even have a Facebook account. The companies have also worked together in previous years, including in 2021 when they teamed up on a mini player that would stream Spotify from the Facebook app. Facebook, however, competed with Spotify on podcasts for a brief period before pause a series of audio projects instead focus on its metaverse efforts.

Social is one area where Spotify may be hesitant to rock the boat, given Meta’s competitiveness with any company trying to build its own social graph. But it’s an area that’s ripe for development, as Apple has Many times failed building social products around music over the years. Plus, it’s clearly something many users want to see in the app and plays into Spotify’s overall goal of providing a personalized experience for music fans.

Spotify had no further comment on the Friends tab test.

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