Spotify might not be done adding trendy technology to its streaming music service. The company has confirmed that it’s testing a feature which requires owning an NFT (non-fungible token) to unlock certain playlists. The band Kingship is part of a pilot that also includes organizations like Fluf, Moonbirds and Overlord. The experiment appears to be limited to Android users in certain countries, although TechCrunch notes this isn’t surprising when Apple limited NFT uses on iOS in October of last year.
A Spotify spokesperson tells Engadget the company “routinely” conducts tests. Some lead to product improvements while others only amount to “important learnings,” the representative says. The company isn’t commenting on future plans for the NFT pilot. The service is holding its next Stream On event on March 8th, but there’s no guarantee the feature will make an appearance.
The firm is no stranger to the digital tokens. It tested NFT galleries on artist pages last spring, and was hiring people with related technical experience. A move like this would help Spotify form partnerships where it could spur listening (and sales of partners’ NFTs) by putting a tastemaker’s music selections behind a paywall.
The timing is unfortunate, however. Blockchain businesses like FTX and Coinbase are reeling from either fraud accusations or the continued crypto market downturn. Interest in NFTs has also cooled dramatically in the past year, in part because the assets frequently aren’t selling well. Spotify is also cutting costs, and recently said it would lay off six percent of its workforce. The company has less money to invest in experiments, and would be entering a grim market.