Spotify today showcased an updated version of its player and its options, mostly geared to improving discovery, and surprised attendees at its media event by welcoming Metallica’s music to its catalog and the band’s drummer Lars Ulrich to the stage.
The interface introduces a Discover tab, initially in its desktop version and soon in its web-based player. This will suggest songs based on each user’s listening habits, along with artist bios and reviews from Spotify app partners like Pitchfork for reviews and Bandsintown for concerts. Users also have a new Follow function, from which they can choose friends, artists and music writers to receive playlists and recommendations from. (See the demo video below to get an idea of how it works.)
Daniel Ek, CEO of Spotify, said these features are in response to user feedback and would continually prove more useful since the library now has 20 million songs and grows by “up to 20,000” songs every day. He added that one of the main complaints he hears is, “Spotify is great when you know what music you want to listen to, but not when you don’t.”
Metallica very publicly sued the original Napster – which is relevant since Napster co-founder Sean Parker is on Spotify’s board – and refused to have its music on iTunes for many years. But today Ulrich and Parker said they’d put the past behind them, with Ulrich admitting the band had a knee-jerk negative reaction to the digital revolution. According to Wired, “We were adversaries, but we had a lot in common,” Ulrich said of Parker. “We were somewhat ignorant of what was going on in the real world.”
Ek said that Spotify now has 5 million paying subscribers, a million of whom are in the U.S. He added that this makes Spotify the largest music subscription in America, which means it surpassed Rhapsody during the last several months.
Spotify blog – Introducing a better way to discover music
Metallica blog – Metallica on Spotify
Business Insider – Huge Win For Spotify: You Can Now Stream Metallica Music
Photo of Metalllica drummer Lars Ulrich at work, courtesy of Metallica.com