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How to use Spotify’s new Group Sessions feature

Spotify is testing out a Group Sessions feature, which allows premium users in the same vicinity share DJ duties.

The feature is part of the music and podcast streaming service’s new offerings for paying users and has been in testing since last year.

How do I set up a Group Session?

The ‘host’ brings up a code through the Spotify app on their phone. Others in the room scan the code, which then lets everyone control the playlist. The users can pause, skip, and add or delete tracks — essentially playing DJ.

The Connect button will appear in the bottom-left part of the app screen and that’s where the host DJ starts the session. As other DJs manipulate the playlist, it automatically updates on everyone’s app screen as well.

It’s meant to replace passing around the host’s phone and lets people browse through the app’s music selection on their own phones as well. There doesn’t seem to be any limit on the number of DJs who can use the same group session either, so this could either end up in very chaotic playlists or wonderfully woven, eclectic ones.

Spotify already offers premium users the option to make collaborative playlists with others as well with the same capabilities: Everyone can add, delete, reorder tracks. But, Group Sessions offers this in real time with live playing.

How do I get access?

The feature is currently in beta and will only be available to premium Spotify users or those sharing a family account. All the other DJs involved also need to be premium users or in a family account as well.

If you’re a premium user and don’t see the feature available just yet, it’s still being rolled out so you should see it soon.

Can I use this with friends during the pandemic?

Group Sessions doesn’t really take into account the social distancing all of us have to do during the coronavirus pandemic since sharing a physical location is required. There’s also no chat feature so it seems to originally be meant for parties.

Spotify has said the pandemic has changed its users’ listening patterns, so the new feature is really geared toward keeping housemates and families entertained while we all stay at home.

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Mythili Sampathkumar
Mythili is a freelance journalist based in New York. When not reporting about politics, foreign policy, entertainment, and…
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