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Spotify’s ‘Tastebuds’ feature lets you find new music by creeping on your friends

Published Dec 18th, 2019 6:53PM EST
Spotify web player
Image: Richard Drew/AP/Shutterstock

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App researcher Jane Manchun Wong (@wongmjane on Twitter) is out with her latest discovery of an as-yet-unreleased feature of another popular mobile app, this time regarding a new social feature being tested at Spotify.

The new feature is called “Tastebuds,” and it would be a step toward Spotify getting back into the social game after the music streaming app experimented with earlier features that connected users to their friends, but then shifted to letting playlists be the main way users discover new music. This new feature is only an experiment at present, but the main idea is that it would steer you to new music based on the tastes (or, rather, the musical “tastebuds”) of your friends.

Jane frequently scoops the big tech companies themselves by disclosing features before they’re announced, features she’s found by constantly reverse-engineering popular mobile apps. In the case of Spotify and “Tastebuds,” the idea is to tap an option to “search the people you follow” on Spotify once you select Tastebuds from a menu of options (which, again, is still only a prototype at the moment and something Jane discovered in the Spotify web player).

After that, you’ll be shown details about what your friends have been listening to — what they’re streaming the most of, plus you’ll be given an easy way to check out those tunes and quickly bring them over to your own song library. TechCrunch notes in a piece today about the experimental feature that it represents a leap forward for Spotify’s social ambitions, which are dependent at the moment on a slew of little-used features as well as features that rely on outside services — like the ability to share Spotify song snippets with friends via Facebook Messenger or posting snippets to Instagram Stories. You can also do things like search for your friends within Spotify and follow their public playlists.

One interesting side note about this new feature: It shares the same name as a dating startup called Tastebuds that launched a decade ago to connect people via sharing songs. It’s not clear if Spotify now has some relationship with the company or if it will change the feature’s name at a later date.

Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.

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