Whether you’re an artist, a listener, or a bit of both, there’s one thing that has been true since time immemorial: Music should be shared. If you’re grabbing the AUX on a car trip with friends or making a playlist for that special someone, there’s just a certain connection that comes with sharing in the genres and songs that have personal meaning to you.
That’s why in 2021, Spotify took that connection to the next level with Blend, our shared new social listening experience that combines the different tastes of friends and family, as well as fans and artists, into one. With Blend, you can create a personalized playlist that balances what you and your friends like to listen to, merging those music tastes to create something everyone can enjoy.
“Sharing music is a really vulnerable thing—but it also brings you closer together,” says Gianna Pisano, a product marketing manager at Spotify. “Those moments when you realize you and your friends have been listening to Stick Season by Noah Kahan on repeat, or have played boygenius’s new record for five days straight—Blend surfaces all of those insights, puts them together, and does all the work to make a playlist for you and your crew, updated daily. All you have to do is listen and explore.”
Connection in Collaboration
The creation of Blend came about via personalized features that were already in use on a smaller scale.
“Our personalization team was already working on a similar feature that we were excited about,” says Ian VanNest, a senior product designer. “Initially we had used it to connect mixes for listeners on Duo or Family accounts and that ended up being an instant hit. Eventually we decided that extending that functionality to everyone was the way to go.”
At launch, Blend allowed two users at a time to combine musical tastes. But the personalization team realized that more people would make for a merrier experience. So in March 2022, we expanded the number of people who can combine to 10, creating an even more powerful, collaborative tool that allowed even more people to feel connected to one another through their shared love for music.
“Increasing the amount of listeners to make use of Blend was a natural next step,” says Maia Ezratty, an engineer who works on personalization at Spotify. “We don’t only connect over music with one person at a time. We listen to music with our families, go to concerts with our friends, and stream music at the office. I love creating a Blend with a group of friends when we’re together—right away, we have something that represents all of our music tastes that we can play while we hang out. And it’s a conversation starter!”
Beyond that, Blend has offered groups of listeners an opportunity to enjoy the music they have in common and celebrate the differences in musical taste on a granular level.
“Blend has a lot of perks to it, but by far the two best parts of creating a Blend with your friends are finding the artists you have in common and discovering artists that you didn’t know about,” says Ward Ronan, Spotify senior data scientist. “Music has always been a powerful way to bring people together, and Blend not only acknowledges that relationship, but actively helps it grow.
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Getting Closer to the Artists We Love
After fans responded enthusiastically to being able to Blend with groups, the personalization team started to think about how to evolve the playlist further. And in an age where it’s easier than ever for fans to connect with celebrities on a more personal level, the team found inspiration for their next innovation. The result was Blend’s new ability to let fans create a deeper bond with artists by combining their tastes.
“We wanted to harness the power of Blend to create a bit of that same sense of connection between celebrities and fans,” explains Maia. “Music taste is so personal, and Blending with our favorite celebrities makes us feel like we’re getting to know them better by giving us a little window into theirs.”
In a few quick steps, fans can now Blend with artists like BTS to discover the songs that get the K-pop group dancing when they’re not onstage, find out which tracks they have in common with Megan Thee Stallion, and—most recently—see how much their overall taste aligns with that of Miley Cyrus. Find a full list of all available Blends here.
Blend has been incredibly popular with fans since it debuted in 2021. Recently, it’s grown significantly in popularity, and since June 2022, the number of Blends with artists has more than doubled. Of the artists fans can Blend with currently, BTS, Post Malone, BLACKPINK, Lizzo, and Stray Kids are the most popular as of May 2023.
Music has always been one of the most powerful ways for artists to share their lives and experiences, and for listeners to connect with one another and feel understood. And through Blend, fans have a magical way to connect with friends, loved ones, and even total strangers, in a shared moment of enjoyment.
Want to compare your favorite anthems with Miley Cyrus’s? Click below and let Blend do the rest.