New Spotify beta adds looping videos to music discovery as part of major updates

Spotify has announced two major updates: a slew of new features coming to its Car Thing device and the launch of Canvas looping videos on its mobile app. 

Both updates have begun rolling out to Spotify users. The Car Thing features will be limited to the U.S. and iOS users will get the update first. Android owners will get everything at a later date. 

Canvas has a greater reach as the videos will release in beta across the U.K., Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada for the Spotify mobile app.

More hands-off control

Car Thing was designed as a more convenient way to control Spotify while you drive and that core functionality is being expanded. Owners will now be able to see incoming calls on their screen where they can either answer the call or dismiss it.

Another big change is “Add to queue” which Spotify claims is one of its most requested features. It’s essentially the same feature on the mobile app where you can add songs or podcasts to a tracklist, but now you can use your voice.

There’s also going to be a new “Add to queue” icon on the touchscreen to add the song to a playlist or you can press and hold the dial to do the same thing. Other features include the ability to use your voice to ask Spotify for a personalized playlist and to control other media.

Looping recommendations

Canvas videos appear to have been inspired by Tik-Tok as a way to help people discover new types of music. Every day, Spotify will recommend you 15 Canvas loops based on the music that you like. You can scroll through the personalized selection to hear a preview and the Canvas for each song.

If you like what you see and hear, you can add the song to a playlist or follow the artist straight from the Canvas loop. The feature will also allow you to post the Canvas onto a social media app and have it loop in the background of a Story.

Canvas will be right on the mobile app’s home screen and will be created by the artists themselves to offer a sneak peek into the creative process. The full list of artists that will be in the Canvas section is unknown, but Spotify did reveal singer-songwriter Olivia Rodrigo as one of them.

Spotify didn’t say how long Canvas videos will be; whether it’s a 30-second loop or up to a 3-minute stream like TikTok.

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New Spotify beta adds looping videos to music discovery as part of major updates

Spotify has announced two major updates: a slew of new features coming to its Car Thing device and the launch of Canvas looping videos on its mobile app. 

Both updates have begun rolling out to Spotify users. The Car Thing features will be limited to the U.S. and iOS users will get the update first. Android owners will get everything at a later date. 

Canvas has a greater reach as the videos will release in beta across the U.K., Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada for the Spotify mobile app.

More hands-off control

Car Thing was designed as a more convenient way to control Spotify while you drive and that core functionality is being expanded. Owners will now be able to see incoming calls on their screen where they can either answer the call or dismiss it.

Another big change is “Add to queue” which Spotify claims is one of its most requested features. It’s essentially the same feature on the mobile app where you can add songs or podcasts to a tracklist, but now you can use your voice.

There’s also going to be a new “Add to queue” icon on the touchscreen to add the song to a playlist or you can press and hold the dial to do the same thing. Other features include the ability to use your voice to ask Spotify for a personalized playlist and to control other media.

Looping recommendations

Canvas videos appear to have been inspired by Tik-Tok as a way to help people discover new types of music. Every day, Spotify will recommend you 15 Canvas loops based on the music that you like. You can scroll through the personalized selection to hear a preview and the Canvas for each song.

If you like what you see and hear, you can add the song to a playlist or follow the artist straight from the Canvas loop. The feature will also allow you to post the Canvas onto a social media app and have it loop in the background of a Story.

Canvas will be right on the mobile app’s home screen and will be created by the artists themselves to offer a sneak peek into the creative process. The full list of artists that will be in the Canvas section is unknown, but Spotify did reveal singer-songwriter Olivia Rodrigo as one of them.

Spotify didn’t say how long Canvas videos will be; whether it’s a 30-second loop or up to a 3-minute stream like TikTok.

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Spotify users’ lives will get a lot simpler with Google’s new Play Store update

Spotify and Google are teaming up to give users on Android smartphones more choice on how they pay for a Premium subscription to the music platform.

From later this year, you'll be able to choose for the payment to either go through Spotify's own system or Google Play Billing instead, according to the latest Spotify Blog Post. The change is expected to come to other big-name apps as well, though we’ve yet to hear specifics.

The initiative is being called ‘User Choice Billing’, and it will give you the option to choose between giving more to the creators of the apps you use or continuing to contribute to Google’s Play Store infrastructure. 

But, which payment system is likely to be best for you?


Analysis: Which payment system will be better? 

Giving people more choice is rarely a bad thing, but here it definitely feels like you’re being asked to weigh up two nearly identical options.

When Epic Games tried to circumvent Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store payments in Fortnite mobile, it attracted customers by charging less for in-game goodies than if they bought via the third-party. Unfortunately, we don’t expect this will be the case here, as it’s a Google-led initiative.

If Spotify Premium costs less through Spotify than through Google’s Play Store (or vice versa), then you’d have no reason to opt for the pricier option.

So, assuming both systems are equally expensive for the customer which is better? If you want to maximize the portion of your money going to Spotify, then most likely its own private system will be best. 

But, for convenience, Google’s billing is likely to be your best option. As all of your subscription payment data is stored in one place, the next time that you get a new debit or credit card you won’t have to remember everywhere that it’s used – you just have to update your details once, and your subscriptions will all continue.

Additionally, it’ll be easier to keep an eye on the subscriptions that you have. It’s not hard to forget that you have recurring billing set up for an app you rarely use, so by storing all of your subscriptions in one location within Google Play, you’d be able to quickly scroll through and find out what you’re paying without having to decode your bank statements.

If the service spreads to other apps and services, it might also give you the option to pay for digital goods without having to give your card details to a platform that you aren’t familiar with.

However, as with all upcoming features, we’ll have to wait and see just how much of a time or money saver 'User Choice Billing' ends up being when it launches.

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