News articles have reactions, YouTube has reaction videos and now a new test from Spotify sees the streaming service experiment with audio reactions for music playlists. The experiment came to light thanks to a reddit user based in Vietnam who promptly posted screenshots of the response.
“So what do you think?” the interface reads. “Record an episode to share your thoughts in the playlist.” Below the prompt is a green-colored record button to start the audio recording, which is then uploaded to the service as a podcast episode. There are also some simple editing options, such as being able to add background music and tags. The comment function appears to be accessible via a microphone icon on the playlist page.
The company confirmed the test in a statement given to TechCrunch. “At Spotify, we are always looking for ways to improve our users’ experience on our platform, and we regularly test features that we believe will add value to listeners and creators,” the statement reads. “We are currently conducting a limited trial of creating in-app audio, but have no further details to share at this time.” It is unclear how widely this new test has been deployed and the company did not immediately respond The Verges request for comment.
User engagement is a fundamental part of the online experience for many services, encouraging users to be part of the conversation after reading an article or watching a video. And in recent years, response features like TikTok’s Duets have become the core of the service offering. Spotify’s test appears to be an attempt to bring similar social elements into music playlists and hopefully capitalize on the resulting increase in user participation.
The discovery of the test comes just over a month after Spotify was discovered by experimenting with users to record and post podcasts directly from the app, significantly lowering the barrier to entry for would-be audio creators. At the time, Spotify had made the feature available to a small number of users in the US and New Zealand.
Compared to asking users to record full podcasts in the Spotify app, simple audio responses arguably make a lot more sense. Users expect high production values from podcasts – the result of professional equipment and slick editing – that a mobile app like Spotify might struggle to replicate. But the bar for short audio responses could be a lot lower (as it is for TikTok Duets), and users may be more willing to listen to clips recorded with a phone’s microphone.
However, it’s worth noting that Spotify often experiments with new features that get limited public releases but never officially launch. Over the past few months, we’ve seen the platform test everything from a TikTok-esque discovery feed to NFT galleries for musicians. And more than a year after giving its lossless streaming tier a flashy launch event, the company has yet to make Spotify HiFi available to customers.