Spotify Could Be The Next Big Social Media Platform

Picture this: It’s late Thursday night, minutes away from Friday. In a few moments, this week’s wave of new music releases will hit Spotify. Somebody inevitably goes for Drake’s throat on a new song again. Once fans get their first listen of the diss track, they’ll flock to X (formerly Twitter) to talk about Drizzy’s latest L. Topics related to new music are regularly X’s top trending topics on Friday morning, and it’s where much of the online conversation about what’s new in music happens.

So, here’s a thought: Spotify has more users than X, it appears, with a reported 615 million active monthly users versus 368 million for Spotify. Why couldn’t all these music conversations happen on Spotify instead?

The obvious reason is that Spotify isn’t a social media platform. But, Spotify execs have perhaps also gone through the thought process I just laid out.

Earlier this week, Spotify introduced the ability to leave comments on podcast episodes. In the announcement post, Spotify notes, “Our new Comments feature expands on the Q&A and polls functionality we introduced in 2021 as a way to bring interactivity into the podcasting industry for the first time. And interactivity is a feature that already has listeners and creators buzzing: More than 9 million unique Spotify listeners have interacted with a Q&A or poll just this year, and there’s been 80% year-over-year growth in the number of total Q&A responses and votes from listeners.”

So, Spotify has the users and at least a portion of them have expressed interest in more interactive ways to use the platform. Perhaps introducing commenting to podcasts is a way for Spotify to test and soft-launch a new era: Spotify as music-based social media platform, where users can listen to and discuss music in the same place.

If that is their plan, though, and they already have a framework for comment functionality, why not just roll it out big-time and let users comment on songs and albums now?

Well, being a giant internet company doesn’t mean a social media expansion will be an automatic success. We saw this happen with Google: They launched Google+ (which you probably forgot about, or perhaps never heard of) in 2011. The Facebook clone failed to gain significant traction and ceased operations a few years later. That’s not to say that Google rushed into it, but this does illustrate that nothing is guaranteed, no matter how dominant you are in other areas.

So, trying to pivot into social media is a big swing, and it’s smart of Spotify to take some practice cuts in the on-deck circle before stepping up to the plate. After all, if full-fledged social media is on Spotify’s agenda, there are still so many factors to consider. Would the platform be purely comments-based, or could users make their own posts? Will there be a way to see the best posts and users across the entire platform, or will each song’s/album’s comments section be its own beast? Will there be appropriate moderation in place to stop Neil Young from spamming comments about audio quality? That’s just a sampling of the major questions Spotify would have to work out ahead of a launch of this scale.

The opportunity appears to be there, though: Spotify is the world’s biggest music streaming platform and it continues to grow. Public opinion of X has waned ever since Elon Musk took over. (That’s not to say Spotify is without its controversies, though.) Many social media users would seemingly embrace a new forum for discussing music, especially one that lets them do it without switching out of the app they’re already listening in. It could certainly be a major value proposition for Spotify to help increase the gap between them and streaming competitors like Apple Music. It would also make them a unique presence in the social media landscape.

This is all assuming that Spotify even wants this — that they actually aim to expand comments beyond podcasts. We don’t know that for sure, but if that is the path they’re on, our Thursday nights and Friday mornings could look very different in the future.