Asked for comment, Spotify confirmed the feature is in early beta testing, but declined to share further details.
The company’s roots as a social music streaming app helped it grow early on by leveraging its integration with Facebook to build its friend graph. In later years, however, Spotify leaned more toward personalization features to give it an edge over its streaming rivals. Playlists tailored to individual listeners — like Spotify’s flagship Discover Weekly, for example — have been helping attract and retain users rather than seeing friends streaming. As a result, the company de-emphasized its focus on the user’s personal network of friends in the product.
While some people still want to access their friends activity on mobile, the company scrapped plans to add the feature in 2019 after user requests on its community forums got about 7,451 votes.
Now, it looks like Spotify may be changing course.
While not currently publicly available in the app, mobile users can access this new community feature by typing “spotify:community” into their iOS device’s Safari browser. The new addition was first spotted by Chris Messina, who shared a video of the feature on Twitter earlier this month along with a long list of updates to the Spotify app.
In the community hub that appears in the app, you’ll see a horizontal row of playlist updates at the top of the page, followed by a vertical scrolling list of friends, and what they’re listening to right now, along with a timestamp of when they listened.
For those listening, an animated music equalizer bar will appear next to their name and music selection. Otherwise, the screen will show when your friends have listened to Spotify, and what they’re streaming. In the updated version of the community tab, Spotify has also time stamped playlist updates so users can see recent additions.
In TechCrunch’s testing, the feature didn’t appear to be fully functional. Currently, users can click on a playlist to see a list of songs, but clicking on a friend’s music doesn’t make them play that song too. This may change when or if the feature is publicly available.
While Spotify isn’t prioritizing its “Friend Activity” feature, it continues to maintain a close relationship with Meta (Facebook). Today, the social graph of Spotify users still relies on Facebook integration — even though younger generations are now discovering new music more through TikTok, and many Gen Z users don’t even have a Facebook account at all. Last year, for example, Spotify and Facebook teamed up to launch a mini-player that could stream Spotify from the Facebook app. However, Facebook briefly competed with Spotify on podcasting before discontinuing a string of audio projects to focus on its metaverse efforts.