At a special event today (where Frank Ocean and Metallica performed), Spotify demoed a new version of its popular music player that introduces two key new components to the experience: Discover and Follow. The features will be found under new tabs in the player once the update rolls out to users early next year.
The Discover tab is essentially a whole new way to browse Spotify and will show users new artists and music to play based on their history and interests. But rather than just list songs and artists like some other services, Discover will integrate contextual information like editorial reviews and biographical data. In that way, Spotify hopes to create a sort of guided tour through its catalog geared toward helping users find new music.
The Follow tab builds on Spotify's current system of showing you the listening activity of people in your networks in real time. Users will be able to find other users who they may not be friends with and "follow" them as opposed to the current system of favoriting. The idea here is to create a class of super users and celebrities who amass influence through large followings, similar to the way Twitter operates.
The new Spotify will also feature a few other design enhancements and performance improvements. A Web-based version of the player is also in the works. Look for the upgrade to become available in early 2013.