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[iOS][Social]Public Group Sessions as the "Livestream" Feature of Spotify

Currently, it seems that Group Sessions are the kind of feature meant for groups of people in tight proximity: you and your friends keep fighting over the aux cord? Just make a group session and you can all queue music. Everyone in the household have different tastes? Make a group session and you can all stream what you each want to hear.

 

This, however, is an underestimation of what Group Sessions could be; Group Sessions have the potential to be Spotify's unique take on the Livestream feature that so many other platforms seem keen on taking advantage of (Instagram Live, the Reddit Network, Periscope, even Tick Tok [for some reason the correct spelling of that company came up as a typo and I couldn't submit this post with any typos] now). Allow me to explain:

 

The Current State of Group Sessions

At the moment, if a user starts a Group Session, these are the only ways in which they can invite other users:

  1. The simplest (and coolest) way to invite others nearby the user is by sharing their designated Spotify waveform barcode. 
    • Advantages: the Spotify barcode is obviously a cool feature since no other app utilizes anything like and also because of the attractive aesthetic; each barcode is unique to the user; and, if the user is nearby someone, they can simply show the code to the other person, who then scans it to join.
    • Drawbacks: this method is inconvenient when trying to add people that are not within the user's immediate proximity--the user would have to send a screenshot of the barcode to a friend, that friend would have to save the screenshot, go to the app's search bar, open the camera, click select from photos, and then actually select the photo. It's too many steps; but of course, this method isn't meant for people not within the immediate proximity--the following method is.
  2. Send a message with the link.
    • Advantages: It's two steps. The user sends the link. The person who receives the link clicks it.
    • Drawbacks: When someone starts an Instagram Livestream, do they individually message everyone they want to join? No. That would look desperate for attention and would also still be inconvenient from the perspective that no person wants to have to message all of their friends one by one every time they go live, nor do they want to make a group chat simply for the purpose of letting those people know that they are live. People want a way for other people to know, "Hey, I'm live right now. You can join if you'd like. Or not. I'm not going to directly reach out to invite you unless you're a super close friend. But you're on my general friends list so you're welcome to join."

The Solution

This is how I see the feature being improved:

  1. On other platforms with livestream features, when a person goes live, their friends are notified; thus, in Spotify, when the user starts a Group Session, if they opt in to making their Session Public (more on that next feature), when they begin the Session, the people following them are pinged with a simple notification from Spotify informing them, "Gabriel Mount just started a public Group Session. Join them to listen in and queue your own music!" or something along those lines. This introduces the exciting tension I mentioned above that livestreams carry with them; the only difference is, rather than the user being on stage with their friends there to interact, the user's music is on stage with their friends their to not only interact, but also suggest their own.
  2. Allow the option to make a Group Session public or private. If the session is public, all the user's friends are notified when the session begins (or, if the session was private and is opened up, they are notified when it turns public). This allows for differentiation between that more intimate Group Session the feature was initially meant for and the more social Group Session livestream mentioned above.
    • Furthermore, give the user who made the session the ability to choose whether or not permission to add songs to the queue must be granted by them (a feature which has been suggested before). If a public session if overflooded with people, then in many cases the user obviously might not want to allow everyone to queue songs.
  3. Whether the Session is Public or Private, allow the user who made the session to ping their friends through Spotify, notifying those friends that they, individually, have been invited to the Group Session. "What's the difference in messaging someone an invite and pinging someone an invite?" you may ask. If every time you wanted to request someone whose Instagram account was private, you had to directly send them a message outside of Spotify saying, "I'm sending you a friend request! Accept it here: [link]" that would feel much different, more awkward, too direct, and even more inconvenient than simply pressing a "request" button, which then independently notifies the person that you requested them in the same way as if anyone else requested them. It's integrated. It's smoother. It's better.
    • On top of that, it would also be great if, for private (and public) sessions, the user who made the session could grant permission to other users already in the session to invite their own friends, or just allow that by default.
  4. If Public Group Sessions are going to make a big hit (and if Private Sessions are going to make a bigger hit), the cap on the number of people (currently 5) has got to get removed. That's just not good enough. You don't see a cap on the number of people in Livestreams on any other platform. That's because the more engagement with the app, the better. Plus, even if my sessions are Private, I'd like to be able to vibe with entire friend groups at a time.

What Spotify has Going for it

The reason I use Spotify over Apple Music, Amazon Music Unlimited, Tidal, or any other platform is because, out of all the platforms, Spotify has the greatest socialization. The diversity of user-made playlists available seems the greatest to me. The interactivity with other people seems greater here than on other music apps. Seeing what so many other people that I'm friends with are listening to right now (a feature that needs to be brought to mobile already, guys). Spotify is more than just a music app, it's a social media app with music as its heart. However, I don't feel that the company has fully embraced that yet.

 

What I envision for Spotify is a place with literal alive and active groups and communities within the interface of the app, not just external public message boards, like this one. Right now, Spotify is a music app with social features, but the day it becomes a social media app built around music is the day it dominates the music streaming industry, assuming it can do that before another platform beats them to it. This Group Session feature is a good step in that direction, and I hope these changes can be implemented to make it even better.

Updated on 2020-08-13

Hello and thanks for bringing your feedback to the Idea Exchange.

A similar idea has already been suggested here.

More information about how the Spotify Idea Exchange works can be found here.

Status: Duplicate
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Rock Star 11
Rock Star 11
Status changed to: Duplicate

Updated on 2020-08-13

Hello and thanks for bringing your feedback to the Idea Exchange.

A similar idea has already been suggested here.

More information about how the Spotify Idea Exchange works can be found here.