If you and your housemates are squabbling over what plays next on Spotify, a new feature for Premium members might help keep the peace.
Making its beta debut today after several months of under-the-radar development, the Group Session lets your friends take control of the tunes in your Spotify queue. The catch? You’ll all need to be in relatively close proximity to each other.
To start a Group Session, you just tap the Connect button in the bottom-left corner of the Spotify playback interface. Beneath the usual list of computers, speakers, and other Spotify Connect-compatible devices, you’ll see a “Start a group session” heading with a code beneath. If your friends scan the code with their phones, they’ll join your Spotify Group Session. Conversely, you can tap the “Scan to Join” button to scan a friend’s code and join their Group Session.
Once you’ve created a Group Session, all the members of the group will be able to pause, play, skip, and select tracks in your music queue, or they can add new tracks to the queue.
While members of a Group Session will be able to see the group queue in their Spotify apps, the actual music playback is restricted to a single device. That makes Group Sessions best suited for nearby family members or housemates who are listening to Spotify over a single speaker or a multi-room speaker group.
While it won’t let you listen with friends across long distances (now that would be cool, particularly for those of us still in lockdown), the Group Session feature is still in its “very first iteration,” a Spotify rep said, adding that “we will continue to evolve and innovate the experience over time based on user feedback.”
Besides being in more or less the same physical location, all Group Session members must be Spotify Premium users. A Spotify Premium membership costs $10 a month, or $15 a month for a Premium Family plan (which allows for up to six family members).
Ben has been writing about technology and consumer electronics for more than 20 years. A PCWorld contributor since 2014, Ben joined TechHive in 2019, where he covers smart speakers, soundbars, and other smart and home-theater devices. You can follow Ben on Twitter.