After patting itself on the back, Spotify got around to announcing a new feature to help users discover new music and new artists that goes well beyond its existing Radio product. Rather than a traditional "you like this, so you might also like this" model (the one implemented by Amazon that constantly feeds you piles vaguely associated products), the company is aiming to dig deeper and provide context. A new Discover tab has been added to the player, including its web player beta, that recommends artists and provides reasons for the selection. There's much more than just a link to an artist's library, it offers a quick explanation of why it was selected along with a short bio, reviews from sites like Pitchfork and the ability to add them to your Collection (another new feature, more on that later) with one click. The recommendations don't end with artists or albums though; apps like SongKick can automatically suggest concerts in your area
Collection is a quick and easy repository for all the artists you follow and albums you want to listen to on a regular basis. Rather than add albums as a playlist, you add something to your Collection, which is much closer to say an iTunes library than the rather messy system currently in place. It should make organizing your world of tunes much easier.
After last year's experiment with Facebook integration, Spotify has decided to really up its social efforts with "Follow." The concept isn't terribly different from Last.FM or other social music services, though the company is touting the ability to not just connect with your existing friends, but also musicians and celebrities. By following people like Barack Obama and Bruno Mars you can see what they listen to when celebrating their electoral victory or composing their next album. The follow feature even extends to the mobile apps, where artists can push alerts to users to let them know the moment a new album drops. None of the new features are serious game changers, but they're all welcome tweaks that add a lot of polish to one of the top music streaming platforms out there. Sadly, you'll have to wait until 2013 as the new features will be in beta until next year.