In a move right out of Twitter’s playbook, Spotify recently added a follow feature. As streaming music services become both more competitive and less dissimilar, the folks at Spotify are trying something a little different. Services like Pandora and Slacker Radio use our social networks to help us see what our friends are listening to, but now, with Spotify, you can follow anyone with a feed. Aside from allowing you to follow people you know, but don’t have as a Facebook friend, this now allows you to follow your favorite bands, artists, record labels, celebrities and trendsetters.
Apps drive Spotify listening experience
The new feature is only one of many ways Spotify tries to distinguish itself from competing services. While others have more pre-programmed radio stations and a lot of artist discovery built into user-generated stations, Spotify relies primarily on third parties to build apps that are available for free to make up for their smaller and less sophisticated native options.
These apps run the gamut from lyrics-seekers like TuneWiki to established music website and magazine recommendations from Rolling Stone and Billboard Top Chart apps. There are artist-centric apps like ID Music, which is OneDirection’s offering, and apps by renowned and lesser-known labels and expert curators. Check out Blue Note’s amazing jazz catalog, Def Jam’s app that showcases lists put together by their artists and producers, and Pitchfork for the indie scene.
Discover new music with Spotify apps
For navigating through the millions of songs in Spotify’s catalog the best apps focus on both social media and innovative discovery techniques. For those who have been into previous music discovery sites, Last.FM imports your existing profile and adds Spotify tracks to your preferences. There are also genre specific apps for everything from classical (I suggest Classify) to country music.
Some of of my favorite apps are driven not by music genre, but by your emotional state. Tunigo lets you choose a mood or activity and then offers suggested user-sourced playlists. There’s also Mood Agent—a playlist generator that pulls together random playlists based on a single song and choice of four basic moods. DFX Radio has a lovely interface that looks like an old-fashioned radio and allows you to select from five levels of discovery based on any artist you choose.
On the social side Sound Drop leads the pack. The app allows anyone to enter music-themed “rooms” and add to playlists as everyone listens to a running steam together. Share My Playlist is exactly what it sounds like, but it can lead you in unexpected directions, and Filter uses your social network to suggest playlists. There are even hook-up apps like Tastebuds and moosify to help you find people near you with compatible taste in music.
We’re only scratching the service here, but it gives you an idea of the breadth of what Spotify and its app partners can offer. I’ll be monitoring the latest updates from Spotify and other streaming services, but if you’ve used Spotify or any of these apps—leave a review.
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