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Spotify is no stranger to breaking the golden rule of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Now, the music streaming service has bolstered its collaborative playlist offering with Jam, a new feature that allows up to 32 people to control a single playlist.
Having the de facto party sound engineer gate keep the aux cord and politely reject your request for a song is a humbling experience as any, but Jam appears to be democratizing that very phenomenon. Spotify announced the new feature and said that Jam is primarily designed for real-time listening, like a party, when the members of a playlist are all in the same room. Jam allows guests to manually add songs to the shared playlist, while the company’s algorithm can also recommend tracks it thinks the group will like. Spotify began rolling out Jam to Premium subscribers yesterday.
“Once you start a Jam, you can invite a group of friends or family—Free or Premium users, or a mix—so they can share the experience,” the company wrote in its announcement. “Premium listeners can join from wherever they are, whether they’re in the same room or across the world.”
Jam comes as Spotify leans head-first into the brand’s effort to be less of a streaming service and more of a social media platform. Spotify has had collaborative playlists since at least late 2020, allowing two users to share music in one single stream. At the same time, Spotify released Blends in 2021, in which two users can “blend” their music tastes with an algorithmically generated playlist that tries to guess which of their favorite music the other might like.
The absolutely gargantuan playlists Jam can create are the latest from a platform that is throwing everything at the wall and seeing what sticks. In February, Spotify debuted an annoying AI-powered DJ that it touts as the latest in music exploration. DJ will play songs it thinks you like while interrupting after each offering with some cheeky quip to pull you right out of your music-listening experience. The next month, Spotify unveiled a TikTok-esque home feed that begs you to scroll through an endless barrage of visuals in order to discover new music. This all comes at a time when the music streamer is facing major financial difficulties and its biggest competitor, Apple Music, doesn’t even need to turn a profit because its primary purpose is to sell hardware.