Spotify rolled out a pretty extensive update to it's streaming service this morning. Adding robust social networking features, Spotify now links in with your Facebook account for lightning fast music sharing between your friends, as well as syncing up your locally stored MP3 files between your PC and mobile Spotify applications.
It's a forward-thinking update that looks poised to make Spotify the musical heart of the social networking phenomenon, and potentially knock iTunes from its lofty pedestal as the Number #1 music library app.
However, there's always room for a tweak here and an improvement there, so here are Tech Digest's 5 things we greedily still want Spotify to add.
So we're connected to all our friends with Spotify now through Facebook, and we're busily swapping tunes and playlists. But that's really just a spruced up version of the link sharing we'd already had. I want listening parties, where my pals can all log on together, connect into a little group and take turns choosing tracks for each other in real time, a bit like with a pub jukebox, streaming the same songs simultaneously to my connected friends. It's also a must for musically bullish types like myself; I cant bear to think that my carefully picked recommendations are going ignored, so listening parties would let me keep a close tab on pals as they check out my suggestions.
Instant Messaging ties in nicely to the listening parties idea above. You've settled down together for the first hallowed play-through of the (currently non-existant) new Pixies album, their first in X number of years, and you're all buzzing to share "lols" and thumbs-up emoticons as a squealing riff comes in. It'd make this new "social" focus a lot more interactive, and add to those "I Remember The First Time I Heard..." moments.
Artist and Track comments
Being able to add little notes to songs and artists across the site would be great, and would be an excellent way of opening up discussions with like minded music fans. There's nothing better than debating whether or not Nirvana sold-out or if The Beach Boys' Brian Wilson was made a better or worse song-writer for his hermit-period, and sparking off of interesting comments with strangers would be a great way of doing this. Of course, the system could be abused if not carefully policed, so adding filters perhaps to limit visible comments to just those in your friends list would mean you're only ever getting opinions that you want to hear.
An embeddable Spotify player would be great for bloggers and social network lovers. Imagine writing an article on 10 reasons why Malcolm McLaren was a genius, and being able to have 10 tracks to go along with each of your points. There'd be no need to have to open up the Spotify app, just fire up all the songs straight from your browser. It'd be even better if they could make it work with mobile browsers too.
Every once in a while Spotify gets an exclusive first look at an album a few days or weeks before it goes on general release, which is obviously great. But when it comes to actually purchasing tracks from Spotify to store on any device you choose, you get pretty much bog-standard MP3 files and not a lot else. Wouldn't it be great if there was more to tempt you into going for the paid-for downloads? How about exclusive interviews with artists, or playlists of their favourite songs? Or track-by-track making-of audio accompaniments to classic albums? It'd be a great boon for Spotify if they truly plan on taking on Apple's iTunes, and it would also be great news for artists looking to generate more incentives for their fans to invest in their music legally.