Spotify Rolls Out New Social Features With Frank Ocean, Metallica

Music service promises redesigned platform by early 2013

spotify Daniel Ek Sean Parker Lars Ulrich
Kevin Mazur/WireImage
Spotify CEO Daniel Ek, Sean Parker and Lars Ulrich attend the 2012 Spotify press event in New York on December 6th, 2012.
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When Spotify has something to say, they do it in style – so much so that the company's big news today was in danger of being overshadowed by Q&As with Glassnote Records CEO Daniel Glass, Napster founder (and Spotify investor) Sean Parker and Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich, as well as Frank Ocean performing his song "Pyramids." 

But what CEO Daniel Ek had up his sleeve was just as flashy as what he brought out to the stage – namely, a redesign of the music-sharing platform complete with new features that highlight Ek's favorite buzzword: discovery.

The State of Streaming Music

The revamped platform, expected to launch early next year, will feature three new tabs on its main player that will put many of the different apps and aspects of Spotify directly on the user's front page. The "Discover" tab aims to recommend music the same way you would if you were telling a friend, with a few suggestions with a ton of context, rather than a long list of "related artists." The "Discover" tab will comecomplete with reviews culled from the music press, a full bio and photo, recommended upcoming performances and other songs.

Users can save an artist or track they've come across in "Collection," a second new tab that accounts for everything a person has listened to, and acts more as a folder for keeping track of music than the Spotify playlists do currently. A third new tab, "Follow," allows users to connect with friends or anyone else who can recommend music, and provides a platform for listeners and artists to share playlists with their followers.

During the Q&As, Glass talked about the reaction to Mumford & Sons' Babel, which just scored the band six Grammy nominations. With Babel debuting at Number One with 600,000 albums sold in its first week and breaking Spotify records for most streams in a week, the album became an example that streaming services don't cannibalize album sales. Glass also pointed out that streaming revenue is becoming significant.

"You have to play in the marathon game," he said. "It's about the long run of artist development."

Ulrich and Parker represented a reunion of the two most public figures in the Metallica-Napster copyright battle in the late 1990s. The two play nice these days  Metallica announced today they are putting their music on Spotify –  but it wasn't always that way.

"We just wanted to control what was going on with our music, because that's what we'd always done," said Ulrich, explaining his band's position at the time. "It became Metallica against its fans, which was never the fucking point."

The band is getting on the Spotify bandwagon now. "With the kind of global reach that [Spotify] had, we were ready to jump in as soon as we took control of our own masters," he said. Ek compared Metallica's early bootlegging days with what Spotify is doing now. "It's kind of like tape sharing, but on crack," he said.