Spotify was already a great product before the addition of apps. Fast, fun, and free (for those unwilling to pay), it offered everything you could want in a music streaming service. Or at least that’s what I and many others thought prior to the apps making it even better than it previously was.
The rolling out of its API and the first selection of apps turned Spotify from a great product into a must-have product. Many of Spotify’s growing range of apps, though excellent, are only worth a brief write-up alongside others – see Addictive Spotify Apps, Apps for Music Lovers, Record Label Apps – but some merit a more in-depth look. Spotify Radio is one. Soundrop is another.
Most of us assume our music tastes are superior to everybody else’s, and as a result of this mindset we feel the need to promote songs or albums. There is a feeling of “I like this so you should too!” Spotify already offers plenty of opportunities to share songs with others, but Soundrop is the easiest way to do more than just post a link to a social networking site.
Soundrop on Spotify is a social jukebox, a way of sharing music with friends and family, or strangers who share similar tastes to yourself. You can either enter a pre-existing room or create your own room. Once inside you then collaborate with others (or dictate if that’s more your thing) what everyone in that room listens to.
Unfortunately, as with every aspect of Spotify these days, Soundrop requires that you sign in with Facebook to get the most out of it. It’s up to the individual to decide whether it’s worth losing some interactivity by choosing to decline the request. If you’re already signing in to Spotify through Facebook then this shouldn’t be a problem.
There are hundreds of rooms available on Soundrop, each dreamed up and moderated either by Soundrop itself or different individuals. As you can see in the picture above there are dozens of default rooms catering for particular genres. These are ever-present and promoted on the homepage of the app. There are also some created by other users that have proved popular enough to be promoted in this way.
If a room isn’t present on the default list and you don’t know the direct link then you can use the search box to find one that suits your needs. It can be an interesting experiment to just type a random word in and see what rooms are revealed. Doing so can place you in a room with just one other person listening to music you never even knew existed.
Choosing a certain room, Rock for example, means you enter and are immediately exposed to the songs being organically chosen for playback. You’ll instantly get a feel for the collective taste of the people in the room by seeing the tracks that have been voted up sufficiently that they’re due to be played.
Once you have found a room to suit your tastes and are somewhat settled in to it, you have various options open to you.
At the top is a list of the people currently listening, and hovering over their picture reveals their name. Thankfully you can only click to visit the profiles of people you already know. You can ‘Follow’ the room, which essentially means it moves to the top of the list for future visits, or you can ‘Share’ the link to the room with others. You can also add all the songs in the room as a ‘Playlist’.
To become a participant in the room you can cast a vote for certain tracks. This moves them up the list; the more votes a song gets the sooner it gets played. There is no chance to vote a track down – ff you don’t like a song on the pending list then you have to ignore it. There is also a chatroom available for you to message everybody present.
Most people vote for some tracks before settling in to listen. If a song that you like but don’t necessarily know starts playing you can click on the ‘Star’ button to the right of the ‘Now Playing’ box in order to note the track for further listening at a later time. You can also “right-click” any of the tracks listed in the room to be given further options.
If none of the existing rooms, either those moderated by Soundrop or by others, appeal then you have one option to you (barring leaving the app and shutting Spotify altogether) – create your own. It’s a very simple process that takes seconds to do.
You start by clicking on ‘Open A New Room‘. You then drag and drop an existing playlist into the space provided. It’s a good idea to prepare a playlist that suits the name and style of your new room in advance. You then choose a picture and a name, and write a brief description of what others should expect if they enter your room. It’s at this point you choose whether to make your room ‘Open’ (everyone can add and vote for tracks) or ‘Curated’ (everyone can vote for but only you can add tracks).
As can be seen in the image below I currently have a room titled Energy up and running. It’s open to all so feel free to visit using this link. Just try not to laugh at my taste in music. If you don’t like the tracks on offer you can always add your own to the mix and the room will evolve as a result of the choices made by those who visit.
The new and improved Soundrop Spotify app is the one app I keep going back to on Spotify. It’s great for discovering new music, for being played tracks that fit into a certain genre, or for sharing tracks you love with other people. If you have ever wanted to be a DJ, and who hasn’t, quite frankly, then Soundrop on Spotify makes it possible. All from the comfort on your own armchair.
If you have used the Soundrop Spotify app let us know what you think of it. What improvements would you like to see made? Have you found an interesting use for it? Have you created your own room you would like others to visit? Feel free to let us know in the comments section below.