Spotify’s test of Friends tab on mobile signals expanded social ambitions • TechCrunch

Spotify’s success with its year-end review known as Wrapped, which is designed for social sharing, may prompt the company to build more social experiences directly into its mobile app. You are pushing. The company has been testing various iterations of the “Friends Activity” tab on its mobile app for months, and now investors have taken notice. During the streamer’s Q4 earnings call earlier today, the company was asked to clarify some details about its social plans. While Spotify CEO Daniel Eck declined to comment on specific features asked by the investor, he did not rule out the idea of ​​Spotify becoming more of a social platform. Instead, he responded that social can become “a meaningful driver of creating a more engaging and more engaging experience” for a company.

The exec was responding to an investor question about Spotify’s recent tests of a “friends tab” that appears in the app’s bottom navigation bar for some subset of Spotify users. Although currently there is only one experiment, the test in advance The test received many positive reviews from group members.

On Twitter, for example, Spotify users Is stayed is asking To please the company add them in the test group if they do not have access to the feature, or Is stayed Complaint When they were removed from the test group and their friends tab disappeared. Others are asking Spotify when the feature will roll out more widely.

So far, Spotify hasn’t made any public announcements about its plans to launch a Friends tab on mobile, nor has it responded to questions from testers.

However, the company signaled its interest in a broader set of social features last year when it began testing a Community tab on its app. This variation offered a dedicated space to see what music friends are streaming on the app, as well as which playlists they’ve recently updated. Spotify’s desktop app includes a similar feature, but restricts users’ access to the same functionality on mobile devices.

At the time, Spotify confirmed to TechCrunch that it was in the early stages of testing the community feature and did not provide any other information about its plans.

Those tests have since been rolled out and the experience has been given its own “Friends” button in a prominent place in the app’s main navigation. According to Photos posted by testersthe Friends tab includes a “Weekly Picks” section at the top, in a story-like format, followed by a feed of friends’ listening activity, just like you’d see in Spotify’s desktop experience.

This version may still not be the final concept, nor is there any guarantee that this feature will definitely launch.

On the investor call, Ek declined to comment specifically on the Friends tab test, saying the company does a lot of experiments and “what you’ve probably seen is one of those experiments—and Since we’re not committed to launching it, I’m not really going to comment.” But that didn’t diminish the company’s interest in social as a whole, suggesting it’s an area of ​​interest.

“We are committed to creating the best audio experience for consumers and creators in the world. And obviously social can be a meaningful driver for an even more immersive and engaging experience,” the CEO explained. Create.

The company, no doubt in its personal end-of-year review of Spotify Wrapped, wants to know if baking in more social features that are accessible throughout the year will do the same. Will have an effect.

As the company noted during earnings, its eighth version of Wrapped broke new records, as 156 million monthly active users engaged with its content — a metric that was up 30% year over year. The wrap also boosted other areas of Spotify’s business, he said. The company saw the highest-grossing merchandise sales week for an artist to date during the week Wrapped went live. And it increased the number of visitors to artists’ tour pages by 2.7x, while also increasing user engagement across all regions and demographics.

While Spotify’s Friends tab isn’t going to track your own listening behavior, it will be another way to engage with friends in a social environment. An older version of the Friends tab was also shown. A way to follow other users In addition to tracking new songs added by friends to playlists, directly in the app, and those they’ve had on “replay.”

Spotify needs to build its own social experiences as the youngest generation of users is moving away from using traditional social networks, where they build a friend graph, instead spending more time on entertainment apps, e.g. TikTok – which has proven to be powerful. Influence on music charts.

While Spotify hasn’t prioritized its Friend Activity features over the years, it has maintained a close relationship with Meta for social integration. Spotify users’ social graphs continue to rely on Facebook today, in fact — 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 partnered on a mini-player that would stream Spotify from the Facebook app. However, Facebook briefly competed with Spotify on podcasts before shutting down a series of audio projects to focus on its Metaverse efforts.

Social is one area where Spotify may be hesitant to rock the boat, given the meta-competition with any company that tries to build its own social graph. But it’s an area ripe for growth, as Apple has failed to build social products around music for years. Plus, it’s clearly something that many users would like to see in the app and plays into Spotify’s overall goal of offering a personalized experience for music fans.

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