It’s almost as if the little glowing story circles are following us everywhere. They’re on Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, WhatsApp, Twitter and now, even on Spotify.
This week, some users noticed the circles on popular Spotify playlists, including the “Christmas Hits” playlist, which I myself listened a lot while trying not to burn my mashed potatoes. In case any of you had any doubts, Spotify helpfully included a message that read, “Tap to see the story,” per a video posted by the YouTuber and gamer TmarTn2.
Roughly one week after Twitter debuted its Fleets, posts similar to Instagram stories that disappear after 24 hours, Spotify has quietly started testing its own version of stories on a select number of its playlists. In a statement to Engadget, the company confirmed that the stories were a test, but provided no additional information as to whether they’ll be available to all users in the near future or whether we’ll be seeing more of them.
“At Spotify, we routinely conduct a number of tests in an effort to improve our user experience,” a Spotify spokesperson told Engadget. “Some of those tests end up paving the path for our broader user experience and others serve only as an important learning. We have no further news to share on future plans at this time.”
Spotify has been testing out its own version of stories with different groups of users for a while now. In 2019, it started testing “Storyline,” a version of stories for artists that allows them to share behind-the-scenes information about the music with fans. Meanwhile, at the beginning of this year, the company also started letting influencers share stories with their public playlists.
Back to the “Christmas Hits” playlist, which is where I got to see what stories looked like. Honestly, I thought I wasn’t going to like the stories, because I’m kind of over seeing stories everywhere. Nonetheless, I must confess I really did giggle when I saw Meghan Trainor’s story about her song, “Holidays (feat. Earth, Wind & Fire)” complete with her llama Christmas sweater.
I also absolutely loved watching “Santa Baby” composer Phil Springer’s story. Although it wasn’t the best shot story, simply featuring Springer sitting on a chair in front of a piano, it was real; it wasn’t performed. When so much of social media is performed, seeing something that appears natural and genuine is a breath of fresh air.
“When my little sis Joan Javits and I wrote this song, I had no idea that it would become a Christmas classic. I had no idea that there was a magic about it that appealed even to children,” Springer said in the story. “So it’s a mystery to me, but I love a mystery.”
The other stories, featuring Ava Max, Jennifer Lopez and Kelly Clarkson, among others, were alright, but they just felt rehearsed. Not to bash the artists (I love me some J-Lo and Kelly Clarkson), but I just feel like it’s not the type of content that will really make me want to watch Spotify stories.
Other stories, such as those featured on the “Tear Drop” playlist, which is described as “emo rap feelings for the misunderstood,” had a more documentary-like vibe. Those surprisingly did manage to interest me, even though the music is not exactly my cup of tea.
At the end of the day, I’m still kind of over stories, and I wish companies would dare to be different and create something new. Nonetheless, I like the idea of watching a compelling story every once in a while about one of my favorite bands or artists. Will I actually do it, though? At the moment, I can’t say. Since they’re everywhere now, I’ve already gotten used to ignoring them.