Spotify Tastebuds will finally let you know your friends' music tastes

Despite the PR and legal tussle with Apple, Spotify remains the world's biggest name in the music streaming business. How it got there, however, is the subject of much scrutiny, criticism, and debate. It definitely didn't get there by being a social network itself, something its own users have been wishing for years. Spotify may finally be ready to give in, probably not out of charity, and is testing a new feature called Tastebuds that will let users get some insight into what their friends have been listening to, perhaps repeatedly even.

Despite having the appearance of being such, Spotify's social features have been pretty limited, revolving around sharing bits and pieces of data on existing social networks. Aside from a short-lived Inbox that let users trade songs with friends, Spotify's music discovery has mostly revolved around its own playlists and algorithms.

That gave Spotify an advantage in negotiating with artists and labels, a practice that some have considered questionable to begin with. It did help put and keep the company at the top but now it seems to be confident enough in its position that it is finally willing to give users a bit more control over that aspect of the service.

A landing page for Spotify Tastebuds now reveals that small step the company is willing to make but doesn't exactly reveal the details of that feature. An earlier prototype did suggest users will be able to take a peek at the music frequently played by people they follow. They can then add those to their own playlists to enhance their own music tastebuds.

Other than that landing page, Spotify has made no official confirmation of Tastebuds, much less when it plans to launch the feature. Of course, there will be questions about privacy, as well as concerns from labels that bank on the service's preferential treatment. Rivals, especially Apple Music, will most likely take it as an opportunity to advertise their own network as the better option.