If you’ve ever been on a road trip with someone who has totally different taste in music than you, letting them play DJ is a major test of your friendship. If you can figure out how to compromise between the Rat Pack and Slipknot, you might as well make each other godparents to your first born children. Spotify has decided that a global pandemic is a great time to move that experience out of the car and into the home with its new Group Sessions feature, because, you know, we’re not really driving around right now. The feature is currently in beta, but it’s rolling out to Spotify Premium subscribers starting today.
By sharing a scannable code with other Spotify users, you can grant playback control over the same playlist to anyone in your household. Anyone with access can add or remove songs from the queue, skip, play, and pause in real time, and any changes to the playlist will update simultaneously across all connected devices, unlike Spotify’s collaborative and family mix features, which don’t update in real-time. A Group Sessions playlist will end after an hour of inactivity (assuming that means no one interacts with it). It’s not clear if it will end even if there’s enough music in the playlist to keep it going for over an hour. It also doesn’t seem to have a limit on the number of users in one session, so when we are allowed to have house parties again, every single one of your guests can be the DJ.
It’s not immediately clear if Group Sessions with work with people outside of your household, but I’d imagine it would as long as they are able to physically scan the code.
Either way, this latest Spotify feature feels and works a lot like TouchTunes and other apps that allow you to play and skip songs on the bar jukebox without getting up from your seat. Prepare for some next-level quarantine trolling, folks.
Spotify wants to give its users a new way to entertain themselves during the pandemic, and they definitely have found it. I’ve trolled entire bars with the TouchTunes app by playing Chumbawamb’s “Tubthumping” 10 times in a row, and paid extra so no one could skip past each one. (I regret nothing.) I can totally see people doing the same thing to roommates as they work from home or their kids as they get ready for another day of remote learning. Combined with taking over your neighbour’s Bluetooth speaker, you can have some serious fun—or do some serious damage.