Music fans have been calling on Spotify to bring the Friends Activity sidebar from desktop to mobile for what feels like a lifetime, and now it looks like they're about to get their wish.
Until now, the feature, which lets you see what your Spotify friends or Facebook contacts are currently streaming, has inexplicably never been available on the Android or iOS mobile versions of the app.
But now it looks like this feature is finally available for music fans on the go.
Originally "spotted" by hashtag inventor and versatile tech icon Chris Messina, it appears the streaming service is testing a new Spotify "Community" tab for mobile that appears to offer, broadly speaking, the same experience as Friend Activity, Showing your friends' music and Facebook. contacts are streamed in real time along with their recently updated playlists.
Clever? Here is my secret! Spotify has a new Community Hub to see what your friends are listening to live and what playlists they've recently updated. Although I have no idea who Andrew Orona is. 😂 Do you want to access? Super Follow me and I'll tell you how! 😝#NewSpotify #SocialAudio pic.twitter.com/hmlA52CVEjJune 1, 2022
Interestingly, the testing area is accessible to anyone with an iOS device. If you feel like wandering around and have an iPhone or iPad, just type "spotify:community" in Safari's address bar.
Spotify's rise was largely determined by how well it fit in with the emerging social media platforms of the day, such as Facebook, which encouraged the sharing and editing of playlists. This meant that Spotify was the streaming service to get, as you couldn't listen to what was being shared anywhere else. It was their biggest win, and it's what rivals like Tidal when it launched couldn't copy, leaving them far behind in terms of popularity.
The addition of this new community feature for mobile apps along with the recent addition of 'Blends', a tool that lets you create new playlists with friends based on your music tastes, shows a throwback to Spotify's original goals of inspiring discovering music through your friends' listening habits.
Let's hope that Spotify moves with the times and allows Community to connect to other social networks beyond the now painfully outdated Facebook; otherwise, chances are all we'll see is your uncle's mix of Britpop instead of fresh new hits.
A return to excellent social features could be just what Spotify needs, at a time when it doesn't feel like such a good value compared to its rivals these days.