Spotify has announced a slew of new features and updates, including a Discovery Feed that’s not unlike TikTok’s, an AI DJ and a podcast autoplay. The updates were announced at Spotify’s Stream On 2023 event, held in LA on March 8 (March 9, Australia-time).
“This marks the biggest change Spotify has undergone since we introduced mobile 10 years ago,” said Spotify CEO Daniel Ek at the event per The Hollywood Reporter. “This evolution is really about bringing Spotify to life.”
The Discovery feed will present a snippet of the track’s audio combined with video. Users will be able to preview an album, playlist or single, and can tap through the preview card in order to preview up to five tracks. In some cases, users will also receive contextual indications as to why they’re being recommended these items, reports TechCrunch.
Conveniently, you’ll be able to listen to your own Spotify music while scrolling the recommendation feed on mute. Then, when a card you like pops up, you’ll be able to tap it to hear it, pausing your own music. You’ll also be able to add recommendations to your Liked Songs or any other playlists for later listening.
Some of the new features, like Smart Shuffle — a mode for playlist recommendations — will only be available to Spotify subscribers, while others, including the TikTok-inspired feeds, will roll out to everyone, reports TechCrunch. The features will reach Spotify’s 184 country markets at different times. As of yet, we don’t know when they’ll hit Aus.
The major product updates are part of Spotify’s goal of reaching 1 billion users by 2030, doubling its current user base, said Alex Norström, Spotify’s co-president and chief business officer, per The Hollywood Reporter. He explained that the changes to the home feed and user experience are meant to lean into Spotify as a discoverability tool.
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“While we are building very effective mechanisms for discovery, we are not optimizing for time spent in the feed like other platforms,” Söderström said. “Spotify optimises for helping you discover content.”
Spotify says the changes are meant to make its user interface feel more interactive, reports TechCrunch. However, the publication does point out that the move could be for financial reasons, as it introduces a new surface in the app where the company could later show ads — much like what Instagram has done with Reels.
“Officially, Spotify doesn’t have anything to announce on this front today, but in an email with TechCrunch said it’s ‘excited’ about how the offerings could evolve over time,” the publication says.
TechCrunch notes that the new content discovery tools fills the gap created by the death of the radio model. Artists are now more dependent on services like Spotify to feature their tracks. In theory, these updates could open a new window for finding fans.
“Spotify recommendations drive close to half of all users’ streams,” said Söderström. “What’s more, each time your music gets played on a program playlist like Release Radar, you receive on average three times more streams from that listener over the next six months.”
Also part of the update, the AI DJ feature is currently only available to Premium subscribers in the US and Canada. It uses generative AI and a natural-sounding AI voice to present its music selections and offer background information on the artist, song or album, among other things.
As for when the updates will appear for Spotify users, it won’t be available immediately, but expect them sometime soon. They’ll be rolled out in waves, and will initially be on mobile only.