With its new tool for sharing music via scannable pictures, Spotify has borrowed a page from Snapchat. For every song, album, artist, and playlist, the new Spotify Codes feature generates a unique barcode and album cover image. Scanning these Spotify Codes with the new camera in the Spotify app’s search box will allow you to scan to the music right away.
Spotify Codes have the potential to make it easier for friends to share music and for artists to promote their work. We contacted Spotify for more information after getting a tip from reader Moshe Isaacian, and the business stated it would share more facts on Monday.
Simply tap the “three dots” button on the right side of the screen when playing a song or looking at an artist or playlist to bring up a Spotify Code. To scan one, go to the search bar, tap the camera icon, and then move the camera over a code on a phone, computer screen, or printed page. You can also scan a Spotify Code by uploading a screenshot or snapshot of it if you see it published in another app like Instagram or by text message.
Scanning the code for this new song by Cathedrals, a sensual indie dance band, will let you try it for yourself:
If a buddy is listening to a song and you want to listen to it as well, you don’t have to wait for them to dig out a link, open a messaging app, send it to you, and then open it in your browser before it deeplinks into Spotify. They tap the dots to reveal the code, which you then scan with your search camera while listening. Since Spotify dropped its in-app messaging Inbox in February in favour of shortcuts to share through SMS, Messenger, WhatsApp, and other chat applications, this is even more significant.
Meanwhile, instead of only their band name, artists may manufacture vinyl stickers with their Spotify Codes. The camera and soundwave-stylized codes look excellent and are straightforward to use, but a lengthy Spotify URL would be unattractive and difficult to punch in on a mobile device.
Spotify Codes can also serve as a continual visual reminder that you’re listening to on-demand music while surfing the web. Spotify Codes might work to promote both the streaming service and the music to which they’re attached, similar to how Facebook’s Like buttons colonised the web and Snapchat’s Snapcodes wound up as profile images on Twitter and elsewhere.
Spotify might benefit from a viral growth approach like this as it competes with Apple Music, Amazon, YouTube, SoundCloud, and Pandora to convert radio and MP3 listeners into streamers. We’ll see if other streaming services create their own scannable song codes, given how Apple and SoundCloud have imitated Spotify’s phenomenally successful tailored playlist Discover Weekly (which Techgigs proposed it design back in 2014).