At South by Southwest this week, Napster co-founders Sean Parker and Shawn Fanning sat down for an interview about Downloaded, the upcoming film on the story behind their old company. During the conversation, Parker mentioned that he thinks Spotify really needs to step up its game in the social arena — in fact, he believes that Napster's strengths in social sharing have yet to be replicated. Parker (a board member for Spotify) feels that "Spotify is allowing us to do a lot of the things we never got to do with Napster, but Facebook-Spotify sharing needs to get better." Specifically, Parker feels that there's "too much happening in the Facebook arena, and not enough in Spotify" — it sounds like he wants to see Spotify step up and allow more social interaction within the app itself, rather than relying on Facebook for most interactions.
Parker went on to say that "it might be the right move to let people see who is browsing what in your library." In Spotify, your Facebook friends can see what you listen to and view your shared playlists, but it sounds like Parker wants to see a more transparent experience. Back in the Napster days, you could easily see a user's entire shared library — and that user could see who was browsing and downloading files from him. Of course, you don't really browse a user's library in Spotify, because everyone has access to the same catalog, and your playlists show what out of that huge collection you favor. And in this world of privacy concerns, its not surprising that it's pretty easy to keep your listening habits a secret. Sure, Napster made it easy to chat with strangers about your respective music tastes, but we're pretty happy with Spotify's drag-and-drop sharing — not to mention the millions of high-quality, correctly labeled songs.