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Want to know what music Barak Obama is listening to on Spotify? Well now you can. The music streaming service has unveiled new social networking features designed to enable users to find more of the music they like, and artists to keep in touch with their fans.

The upgrades were announced last night in New York by founder and CEO, Daniel Ek, and relayed to a Sydney press briefing this morning.

Spotify offers a free ad-supported music streaming service and an ad-free subscription service. According to Ek it returns about 70 percent of revenues to music rights holders and has so far paid out about $US0.5 billion.

Ek said that the four year old Spotify how had about 20 million users in 17 countries, five million paying of which one million are in the US. He claimed that the number of paying customers had doubled in the past 12 months, and that the site was adding between 10,000 and 20,000 new songs per day to its 20 million strong catalogue.

The company claims that the introduction of the service into Australia and New Zealand was its most successful launch to date.

Spotify's latest upgrade will see a number of new discovery features rollout out across its desktop and mobile apps in coming weeks. Ek also previewed a new browser-based interface, presently in beta, that he said would be launched in the New Year.

The new discovery features include a follow tab that enables users to get music recommendations from their friends, artists, influencers and media by tapping into what those people are listening to at the time. They will also be able to see who is following them.

The new 'Discover' tab will "continually seek out the most relevant content and brings it right to you." It will provide information on new releases from artists followed, and all the music and playlists shared by influencers followed along with "intelligent recommendations based on your listening history including music, reviews, and concerts."

Other new features include: push notification to mobiles when a followed artist releases new music onto Spotify; the ability to add a song title to a collection for future listening, rather than having to create a playlist; and an Audio Preview feature that lets listeners dip into new music without moving away from the music they are listening to at the time.

The new follow features will roll out as part of a desktop app update over the next few weeks. This will be followed by a full cross-platform upgrade later next year.

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Stuart Corner

 

Tracking the telecoms industry since 1989, Stuart has been awarded Journalist Of The Year by the Australian Telecommunications Users Group (twice) and by the Service Providers Action Network. In 2010 he received the 'Kester' lifetime achievement award in the Consensus IT Writers Awards and was made a Lifetime Member of the Telecommunications Society of Australia. He was born in the UK, came to Australia in 1980 and has been here ever since.

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