Spotify rolls out new 'Group Session' feature to make lockdown soundsystems easier to control

Tool has been in the works for a year – but can be used in new ways as coronavirus forces people to stay at home

Andrew Griffin
Tuesday 12 May 2020 09:20 BST
Guests attend Spotify Celebrates The Launch of Harry Styles' New Album
Guests attend Spotify Celebrates The Launch of Harry Styles' New Album

Spotify has added a new "Group Sessions" feature that is intended to make it easier to listen in lockdown.

The new feature lets people work together on a shared queue of tracks, all from their individual phones.

The tool comes at a time when many people are stuck in their home, listening to the same speakers and potentially struggling to decide what to put on.

It aims to address that by letting people throw together their individual queues and create lists of music together.

Unlike Spotify's existing tools like collaborative playlists, that happens in real time and allows users to temporarily share all of their listening together.

When the feature is turned on, one of the users become a host, and is shown a code on their phone. Anyone else in the house can then scan that code and join the same session.

As well as being able to add tracks, anyone in the session can use Spotify's playback controls to skip forward or back, or play and pause.

All of the people using the feature must have a paid, premium Spotify account. Though it can support as many as 100 people, they must all be in the same physical space.

The tool is rolling out now and in beta form, meaning not all users may have access to it. Spotify has suggested that it will improve over time.

The new feature has been in the works for at least a year, long before coronavirus lockdowns forced people to spend more time with each other, having being discovered in early code in May 2019. At that time, the feature was presumably intended as a way for people at a house party to listen to music together, for instance.

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