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[Listening Together] Group session ideas


[Listening Together] Group session ideas

Hey people of Music Chat!


I had my first long-distance Group session experience this past weekend with a friend of mine who lives in another country!


In case you're interested, this is what we did:


  1. We agreed on a time to "meet".
  2. We briefly Facetimed to set up the logistics: I started a Group session from my phone and sent them a link to join.
  3. We created a collaborative playlist to which we could add our songs. We preferred this to merely adding songs to the Queue because we could make a record of what we listened to look back on 🙂
  4. We listened together for an hour, adding songs to the playlist on an alternating basis (I'd add one song, they'd add another, etc.). We discussed our choices in a separate chat while listening.

It was so much fun! I loved how we built a vibe together, with each song choice being influenced by what came before it. We ended up weaving through several different genres, starting at '70s synth pop and ending up at indie rock, and we listened to music in different languages too, including Turkish and some African dialects.


We're hoping to have more Group sessions like these in future. I was just wondering whether anyone has done something similar, and if they'd like to share what worked for them, e.g. coming up with certain themes or perhaps introducing rules to focus the choices of song.

7 Replies

Hey, Peter


I guess you already know about it, from your conversation with TreyAnastasio on here, but he and I had a genre Listening Party on Halloween. We didn't have much time to invite many people, before, so it ended up just being us, but we had a couple others, that ended having to head out, not long after we started. We also had a test session, before our scheduled Halloween one. With both sessions, we found out some issues and "roadblocks" while using the feature. Some were because of human error, but they could still be fixed, from changing some things in the application. I guess you already got the invitation to join us for an AC/DC Listening Party. We still have to wait for people to get back to us about their availability, so we can set a date and time. To overcome one problem, we use Google Hangouts ro chat, and have anyone joining us in the session join the chat and stay as long as their in the group session. Without it, some people may cause things to happen that the host didn't intend, because of the lack of communication. Beside the genre based Holiday and album Listening Parties, I plan to have other ones (based on my taste and themes). You may have seen this already, but I'll leave it, so you and anyone else can check it out.

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In all honesty, it would be wicked to have this feature on desktop as well.

But with the help of Discord and it's listen along feature which is just awesome, I have joined quite a lot of listening parties for both albums and playlists. I've also conducted a few.

I'm in a musical community that does such events regularly and members also create spontaneous listening parties, and I'm in a couple of artist servers that have also done this.


Thematic playlists are really fun, honestly. Especially when the theme itself is also cool. There was a (flash) playlist for songs to avoid listening to with a headache and that was lovely. Some of us did have a headache at that moment and could.. um.. test it 😄 😅 



@MadmanOnWheels - your initial post in that thread was one of the things that inspired me to set up my own Group session in the first place! Not sure if I'll be able to make the AC/DC album listening party, but it's an awesome initiative - do keep us posted on how it goes 🙂


@Sebasty - I'd be keen to know how listening parties work on Discord, and how they differ from Spotify Group sessions. If you have any links/articles you can direct me to so that I can be educated, or any examples of listening parties that I could check out, do let me know 🙂

@Peter Oh sure, um...

There are two main differences between Discord integration and the Group Sessions - Discord integration works on every platform where you can install Discord (including desktop), and Group Sessions has a queue participants can add stuff to.

However, you don't need to have Spotify connected to Discord in order to take a part in a listening party in a server. Only when you want to listen along or showcase your great music taste.


Other than that, what people using Discord do is this:

1. Someone announces, idk, a playlist listening session. "Here's the theme, the tracks must not be over 9 mins long and send your choices to me. We begin in 30 minutes."

2. The person who announced will construct the playlist out of the stuff others have sent in. Usually they just shuffle the selection.
3. When the time comes to listen, they post the link to the playlist and people gather in, opening the playlist in their Spotify clients.

4. The person who initiated the session will now trigger some countdown using some bot (for instance fmbot) and people press play simultaneously.
5. ...If you have Premium and you're late, you just listen along with someone else. : )

For bigger things, Google forms can be used. Smaller things are just like the above.
Album listening sessions also look like the above without the submission of tracks.


Since playlists seem to update in real time, it's possible to add more content into it as everyone listens.


That's... pretty much how it happens in the server(s) I am in. : )

Thanks for taking the time to explain to a relative noob, @Sebasty - I really appreciate it 🙂

So, it sounds like Discord listening parties are in some ways more "inclusive", in that, if you're on Free, you don't have to explicitly "join" the listening party (via the Spotify 'Listen Along' integration with Discord - a Premium only feature) - you can just listen along simultaneously by pressing play (in 3...2...1... go!) and use the Discord server to chat in the meantime.


That said, as you mentioned, if you're on Premium you can always hook yourself up to someone else's music stream so that you're perfectly synced-up via the Listen Along feature, much like you would with a Spotify Group session, but it sounds like people tend to prefer the former option of simultaneous listening (hitting "play" at the same time), since it's more democratic (i.e. doesn't rely on you having a Premium sub). Did I get that more or less right?


In any case, I've never used Discord before, but would be curious to explore the platform and see for myself how these listening parties are organised in practice, not least so that I don't have to keep pestering you about it!

Thanks again 🙂



Yeah most people prefer to load up the playlist/album in their Spotify clients and hit play on time : )
One of the reasons is that the listen-along feature is not completely reliable as it might disconnect you from the person randomly, especially when the person is on Free (during ads you hear nothing) or reaches a song unavailable for me. Instead of waiting for the duration to move on to the next track, it might disconnect you instead.


Some people also use other platforms, so playlist conversion tools are very much used as well (usually youtube because it's easiest.)


I only know of one community that does those things...  I have enough energy for only 4 servers : )

Nice! Sounds like each listening party is suited to different platforms/approaches depending on who's listening and the format of the party - at least that's my democratic ruling on what's been said above 😄

PS My little brother is an avid Discord user and he said he also uses the Listen Along feature there - looks like I've lost touch with the youth (and I'm still only in my 20s)...

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