Perhaps the most popular music streaming service on the web, its clear that Spotify does its job and does its job well. But Spotify does much more than just stream music.
Today, I’ll show you a few of Spotify’s lesser known features that give the service even more edge over its competition, especially when it comes to music discovery and the realm of audio beyond music.
Note: I will be using the desktop app in this tutorial. None of the hidden features in this tutorial require a Pro subscription to Spotify.
Audiobooks and Nonmusic Tracks
Audiobooks is one of the most elusive features of Spotify—even I, who has used Spotify for years, didn't know that this feature existed until recently. Granted, Spotify's audiobook library isn't as vast or current as services like Audible's, but it does boast an impressive collection of canonized literature, comedy, and educational resources.
To access audiobooks, go to Browse > Genres & Moods and click on the Word playlist located at the bottom of the page. Here, there are dozens of playlists curated by Spotify that host thousands of nonmusical works.
Tip: Narrow down the selection of nonmusic playlists by clicking on the All Subgenres drop-down and selecting the subgenre of your choice.
Among the playlists is anthologies of poetry, read by poets as famous as T.S. Eliot and Edna St. Vincent Millay themselves; language lessons in languages like Chinese, French, and Irish; full length novels, both fiction and nonfiction, and Shakespeare's plays; and a lot of recordings of comedic acts.
These playlists make Spotify and amazing tool not just to relax and appreciate literature or comedy, but to learn as well.
A normal Spotify playlist may only be edited to your own discretion—others may bot add or delete selections from the playlist. However, Spotify boasts a collaborative playlist setting that allows you and your friends to craft communal playlists.
To do so, create a new playlist by clicking the New Playlist button in the sidebar of the application, and rename the playlist. Right-click on the playlist and select Collaborative Playlist. A circle will appear next to the music symbol, denoting that the playlist is open to the public.
Note: Creating a collaborative playlist makes the playlist public by default.
Share the playlist with friends by clicking the … button at the top of the playlist page and clicking Share in the drop-down menu. There, you can share the playlist with your Spotify followers or post a link to the playlist on Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr. There is also the option to send the playlist directly to one of your friends by clicking Send To and typing the friend’s name into the respective box.
Once you share the playlist, you may begin building it. Creating the content of a collaborative playlist works the same way as creating a normal playlist, but all of your friends are able to drag and drop the songs they wish into the playlist, making collaborative playlists a great way to share music.
Last.fm is a service that collects data about the music you listen to in order to curate new music that suits your taste. The service does so through "scrobbling," or passively sending information about the music you listen to to Last.fm in real-time, typically through a third-party application.
However, you do not need a third-party application to scrobble through Spotify, as Spotify has a built-in Last.fm scrobbler. To enable scrobbling, go to Spotify > Preferences > Activity Sharing, and check off Scrobble to Last.fm. All you have to do is enter your Last.fm credentials (if you don't have an account you may sign up for free), and data about your Spotify activity will be sent directly to Last.fm.
Additionally, Last.fm can be accessed directly from the desktop app by installing the Last.fm Spotify app. To install the Last.fm app, go to App Finder, and the Last.fm application is typically listen in the Top Apps section. Click the Add button in the top right corner of the screen to make Last.fm accessible via the sidebar.
With the Last.fm app installed in Spotify, new music suggestions are kept just a few clicks away. Plus, the suggested songs and artists can easily be added to playlists right from the app.
Spotify also has its own platform for music news that allows for a hands-on way to learn about and access new music. To access the news service, go to Browse >News.
While the bulk of the content in Spotify News is weekly features such as “Throwback Thursday” or “New Music Tuesday,” there are many Spotify-exclusive interviews with artists, chart news, and artists to watch features, as well as hundreds of Spotify-curated playlists.
Each of the posts in Spotify News has interactive elements, which allows you to easily access artists or songs mentioned in articles or interviews. This allows you to access the music your favorite artists listen to in just a click.
With these hidden features, Spotify goes above and beyond the typical music streaming application in order to provide a listening experience that immerses you in the wonderful world of music and beyond. Features like news, collaborative playlists, and Last.fm integration create a mecca for music discovery, and the audiobooks feature allows you to vary your listening to works beyond music, which makes Spotify a streaming powerhouse.
If you have any questions, comments, or simply want to share your favorite Spotify feature, leave a comment down below!