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Spotify trials vertical video feature on its app

A TikTok-style vertical-scrolling video feature has been found in a beta version of the Spotify app

By Charlotte Krol

Spotify logo from 2013
The Pocket Gods released 1000 tracks on Spotify in protest at their royalty rates. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Spotify).

Spotify has tested a vertical video feature that’s been described as similar to TikTok’s interface.

The feature was discovered by a user exploring TestFlight build – Apple’s name for early-adopter beta versions of apps – who spotted a new Discover tab where videos played.

Chris Messina, who is widely credited as the inventor of the hashtag, confirmed the finding to Techcrunch. On Twitter he wrote that Discover is “basically a pared down version of a TikTok-style feed of vertical music videos (likely using their canvas format) that you can like or skip.”

Spotify told Techcrunch that it was not formally announcing the new feature. “At Spotify, we routinely conduct a number of tests in an effort to improve our user experience,” a spokesperson said.

“Some of those tests end up paving the way for our broader user experience and others serve only as an important learning. We don’t have any further news to share at this time.”

It’s unclear if the feature is poised for a wide release or if it’s only a test that might not ever be added to the main app.

The vertical-scrolling video format popularised by TikTok since 2016 has had been adopted by many other media platforms since.

YouTube has an experimental version named Shorts, Instagram has a feature called Reels and Snapchat has a feature called Spotlight.

Elsewhere, Spotify users are now able to look up song lyrics in real time thanks to the installation of a new feature.

The streaming service’s live lyrics feature allows both paying and non-paying subscribers to pull up lyrics while they listen to a song. It’s powered by Musixmatch, which already facilitates the platform’s search tool that provides song results based on lyrics typed in the search bar.

Spotify started testing live lyrics within its app in February although it was only available to a small subset of test users. According to Gizmodo, on-screen lyrics have been one of the company’s most widely requested features.

Prior to the launch of the live lyrics feature, Spotify had a lyrics snippet asset that was powered by Genius. The snippet tool highlighted interesting information about song lyrics and history. Engadget reported earlier this year that this feature would likely be pulled after the live lyrics rollout.

Spotify users can explore the new feature on the iOS or Android app by tapping on the ‘Now Playing’ view on a song and then swiping up from the bottom to reveal the lyrics.

The lyrics feature will also be integrated into the Spotify desktop app and its respective TV apps through the same ‘Now Playing’ menu. Game console users including the PlayStation 4, PS5 and the Xbox One can also access the feature.