TikTok has had its short-form video feed copied by many competitors, from Instagram to Snap to YouTube and even Netflix. Now it looks like you can add Spotify to that list. The company has confirmed that it is currently testing a new feature in its app, Discover, that presents a vertical feed of music videos that users can scroll through and optionally like or skip. For those who have access to this feature, it appears as the fourth tab in the navigation bar at the bottom of the Spotify app, between Home and Search.
New addition was first seen by Chris Messina, who tweeted a video of the Discover feature in action. He described it as a “pared-down version” of a TikTok-style feed of the music video.
Messina told us they got this feature in Spotify’s TestFlight build (beta version for iOS), where tapping a new icon in the navigation toolbar immediately brings you to the video feed. You can then swipe up and down to move through the feed, just like you would on TikTok. In addition to tapping the heart to like songs, you can also tap the three-dot menu to bring up the standard song information sheet, he noted.
Messina also speculates that the feature could take advantage of Spotify’s existing canvas format.
Widely introduced in 2019, Canvas allows artists to create videos with their music on the Spotify app. The feature received mixed reviews from users, as some reported that they preferred to only look at static album art while listening to music and found the video and its looping imagery distracting. But others said they liked it. However, Canvas appears to drive the engagement metrics that Spotify wants reports that users are more likely to continue streaming, share a track, or save a track when they view the canvas.
From the video Messina shared and other videos we’ve seen, we can confirm that the videos playing in the vertical feed are existing canvas videos from artists. But Spotify wouldn’t confirm this to us directly.
Nerdshala asked Spotify for more details about the feature, including whether it plans to roll out further, whether it was available on both iOS and Android, which markets the feature had access to and more. The company declined to share any details about the feature, but confirmed, via a statement, that it was exploring the idea of a vertical video feed.
“At Spotify, we regularly conduct multiple tests in an effort to improve our user experience,” a spokesperson told Nerdshala. “Some of those tests pave the way for our comprehensive user experience and others serve only as an important learning curve. We have no further news to share at this time,” he said.
In other words, the test is still too early and may not make its way to the public. But if it does, it won’t be a surprising move from Spotify. The company has previously looked to popular social media formats to engage its users. In the past, Spotify tested a Stories feature that allowed influencers to post Stories to feature their own, curated playlists. But that option never became available to all Spotify users.
While the TikTok format has been adopted by top social platforms including Instagram (Reels), Snapchat (Spotlight), YouTube (Shorts) and Pinterest (Idea Pins), it is also proving to be an ideal format for content discovery. For example, Netflix recently embraced short-form vertical video feeds in its app with the launch of its “Fast Laughs” feature, which provides clips from its content library and tools for saving programs to watch lists. Or just starts streaming them. Similarly, Spotify’s video-based Discover feature can help introduce users to new music and provide a way for Spotify to signal their interests in a familiar format.