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Spotify’s Friend Activity Tab: Its Best (& Worst) Feature

Spotify is kind of like a little kid that’s obsessed with you, but instead of drawing you pictures and begging for piggy-back rides, it makes you playlists and tells you what you like. And I love it! I spend hours curating playlists and picking covers, and I use it essentially every day. But there’s one feature that manages to be both my favorite and my most dreaded: the Friend Activity tab. 

On the one hand, the Friend Activity tab is great; you can keep up with your friends and get a sample of their music taste. Sometimes it can even lead to discovering new songs, and other times you might find that you and your friend have a lot more music in common than you realized. It’s also great late into the night, when seeing that a friend is actively listening makes 2AM feel a little less lonely. The feature is unifying in that regard, and it also highlights the differences in taste and likings between friends, which is also great.

Other times, though, the Friend tab can be a little too… revealing. Sometimes my listening can get a little strange and I forget that it is visible, but luckily I have friends who are more than happy to remind me. I have in the past received text messages confronting me about seemingly listening to the "Twilight: New Moon Original Motion Picture Soundtrack" over and over again. (A note: I completely stand by that. That album is so fire.) My silver lining comes in the form of the Activity tab being a two-way street. In turn, I poke fun at friends for listening to the Shrek the Third soundtrack and other perhaps questionable picks. It’s all in good fun, though, and it’s turned out to be a great way to keep in touch with friends I otherwise haven’t seen in months, thanks either to the pandemic or their moving away for college. 

So the Spotify Friend Activity tab is overall a gift, and a fun way to check in on friends. But maybe, when you know you’re going to get a little weird, consider activating a Private Session.

Clarissa Melendez

Columbia Barnard '24

Clarissa Melendez is a freshman at Barnard College, where she studies Art History. She loves books and movies and spends her time in Austin, Texas making collages and driving her 2003 Toyota 4Runner to the video store.
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