Have you run out of fun ways to virtually hang out with your friends and family during the pandemic? It’s been about a year now since the pandemic first started, so it may be getting more challenging to think of new ways to connect with the people in your life. Let Spotify help.

They recently launched a new feature called Group Sessions that could be just what you need for your next virtual night-in. Whether you’re planning on blasting some club music for a virtual dance party or just want some chill background noise for your virtual game night, Spotify’s Group Sessions can provide the music for whatever plans you have in mind.

What is a Group Session, exactly?

Users familiar with Spotify know that there’s a free version and a paid version. The free version plays ads between songs and the paid version, known as Spotify Premium, lets you listen without ads and skip an unlimited number of songs on mobile. While listening without interrupting advertisements is enough to make a lot of people switch, Spotify has been working to make their Premium package more worthwhile. Group Sessions is one of these new features available to Spotify Premium members. 

Would you like to listen to a song, playlist, or podcast with other people at the same time? With a Group Session, you can have up to five people listening to the same thing at once. Anyone in the session can then skip songs, play them back, or add new tracks to a playlist. They also have the power to use the normal controls on Spotify to change what people are listening to.

There is no chat feature, however. So you can use Spotify’s Group Session in conjunction with whatever you would normally use to virtually hang out with your friends or family.

How to set up a Spotify Group Session

You don’t need to be a tech genius to set up a Group Session. All you need to know is that the button is there.

You’ll open up the play screen for a song, playlist, or podcast and then click on the “Connect” menu. This is in the bottom left corner of the screen. On mobile, if you’re currently playing content on your Bluetooth device, you may simply see a Bluetooth logo. Click the icon in the bottom-left corner to open the “Connect” menu.

A menu will load with options for playing on other devices. At the bottom, you’ll see a large green button that says “Start Session”. Click this button and you’ll be given an invite link you can share with your friends.

What to do with Spotify Group Sessions

The feature sounds awesome, but what are you actually going to do with it? With time, you’ll probably come up with your own style for simultaneous streaming, but here are some ideas to get you started.

Are you a big workout person? The pandemic has made it tough to have a workout buddy. A Group Session can bring this back. Choose a workout playlist from Spotify’s suggestions or make your own. Set up a time to work out together and build each other up.

Host a themed listening party. Remember, anyone in a group session can control a playlist once they’ve been invited. Choose a theme for songs for the night, then everyone can start adding songs to the playlist they think fit with the theme. You can choose to have this be a free for all, or have agreed upon rules. For example, everyone only gets two skips for the night, so they employ them judiciously.

Have a true-crime night and listen to your favorite true-crime podcast with your best friend.

Get on a video call and have a dance party night where everyone’s sound quality stays the same.

Listen to a scary story together. There are plenty of story-based podcasts on Spotify. Find one that sounds promising and invite your friends. Chatting about the story in real-time brings “book clubs” to the modern age.

There are so many options for you and your loved ones.

And it’s all just getting started

Spotify launched Group Sessions in early 2020 with limited features. It’s grown a bit since then, but is expected to continue to add new capabilities. Hopefully, we’ll eventually see options that allow you to add more than five people at once or chat with your friends.

Most people today need new ways to have some fun with people during the pandemic. Getting creative with Spotify Group Sessions is a great new way to spend time together while being physically apart.