Spotify is introducing a new feature called Group Sessions to all Premium subscribers. With it, two or more Spotify users can share control over a listening session without passing a phone around the room. Group Session participants can control song playback in real-time, add songs to a queue, or contribute to a group playlist.
Group Listening is secure and easy to set up. Just open Spotify’s “Connect to a Device” tab from the bottom left corner of the player window and press “Connect with Friends.” A small window with a code will appear, along with the option to pull up your camera and scan a friend’s code. The Group Listening session will end after an hour of inactivity, or after you deactivate Group Listening from the “Connect to a Device” tab.
Sadly, Group Listening is only available to Premium customers. You can’t share controls with a Spotify Free user, for example. That said, the app doesn’t seem to limit the number of users that can join a Group Listening session—although I’m not sure why you’d want to share music controls with more than four or five people.
The Group Session feature was initially leaked in May of 2019 by Jane Manchun Wong, the reverse engineer who’s famous for uncovering Facebook and Instagram features months before their release. It’s clear that Spotify built this feature for social gatherings and parties, but the company is currently advertising it as a means to share music with roommates and family members, for obvious reasons.
Spotify expects to tweak and update Group Listening over time, and may add a method to share music with faraway friends in the future (in the meantime, you can DJ with friends digitally through the JQBX website). Group Listening may not show up on your Spotify app just yet, as it’s still in the process of rolling out to Premium users.