Spotify has rolled out a small update to its desktop client - the first in a few months. Bringing the version number up to 0.3.23, the update adds a "related artists" tab to artist pages which allows you to see what bands sound similar to whatever you're currently listening to.
This is interesting because it sees the music service move in the direction occupied by Last.fm, Pandora and the like - offering recommendations of things you might like. Back in May 2009, the company made a deal with Echo Nest to provide a service, but it seems like nothing came of that - the new functionality has been built in-house.
Spotify says: "For the first time, we’ll be using our own cross-referencing data collected over millions of user listening hours to power recommendations. Up until now a much smaller pool of artists were linked together to provide recommendations, using available editorial tagging data provided by AllMusic".
Meanwhile, coders have been working at delivering recommendations themselves, offering services like Spotibot that generate similar artists and recommendations based on relationships determined in other apps like Last.fm. Spotify has, for some time, allowed users to send their listening data to Last.fm.
Eagle-eyed readers will also have noticed that stars have appeared next to the top tracks in the screenshot above. It's not clear what those are - perhaps it's future functionality to pick favourite tracks out? We've inquired with Spotify as to what those are all about, and will let you know what the company says.
The new Related Artists tab should start appearing in your Spotify client this week as the company pushes an update. If you want to force it, uninstall Spotify and download a new version off the website. The functionality isn't yet available in the mobile clients for Symbian, Android and the iPhone.