Analysis

Spotify’s new Discover tab now available in its web player


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spotify-discover-tabStreaming music service Spotify revealed plans to add new Discover and Follow tabs to its service in December 2012, with the former helping people find friends, artists and tastemakers to connect to, and the latter recommending new music based on their habits.

Follow was added to Spotify’s desktop and web-player apps earlier this year, but Discover has taken longer to get up and running. Now it’s live, albeit in Spotify’s web-player only for now.

We’ve been having a play – click on the screenshot on the right for a larger view of the Discover tab in action. It recommends a mixture of artists and songs, all tied to things you’ve listened to on Spotify before.

For me, that means recommendations to follow Rustie, Heliotropes and Tracey Thorn on Spotify, based on my listening to (respectively) Disclosure, Bleeding Rainbow and John Grant. There are also individual tracks recommended to me based on listening to Atoms For Peace, Digits, Bill Ryder-Jones and Jon Hopkins.

The tab also pulls in content from Spotify applications, including gig listings from Songkick (“You listened to Basement Jaxx. Want to see a gig near you?”) and Tunigo, which was recently acquired by Spotify. It also plugs new releases (“You listened to Daft Punk. Here’s the new album.”) and playlists.

At first glance, it’s a very good step forward for Spotify – at least for this music geek’s needs, since a lot of the recommendations are a.) based on stuff I’ve been listening to (and thus liking) lots, and b.) for things I haven’t heard before.

It’s a feed with lots of genuinely new-to-me recommendations, rather than just the obvious, big artists that often get served up through recommendation algorithms. Like iTunes Genius, but genuinely useful, you could say.

Also good: the sidebar of ‘Related Music’ that’s based on whatever you’re currently listening to on Spotify through the web player.

spotify-discover02It’s interesting that Spotify has chosen to fully launch the Discover tab first in its web player rather than its desktop app, although some people have been getting access in the latter case, in a phased rollout.

Does this represent more of a web-first approach for Spotify? That said, with Discover now live in the web player, it surely won’t be long before it’s made available to all users in the desktop app too.

But what about mobile? There has been lots of talk about “mobile-first” strategies for streaming music services in recent months, as usage tilts more towards mobile devices.

Spotify has tended to take its time moving new features from desktop to its mobile apps, although CEO Daniel Ek hinted in an appearance at SXSW in March that this strategy may be changing.

“If you’re a business now and you’re only on the PC, you’re going to have some serious problems,” he said at the time, while revealing that “more than half” of Spotify users are already mobile, and that this could rise to 70% in the next year.

Anyway, Spotify’s Discover tab is now available in its web player, so have a go and let us know what you think.

Stuart Dredge

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