Spotify tests emergency alerts in Sweden

3 min read


Music, podcasts, audiobooks…emergency alerts? Spotify’s latest test has the streaming app venturing into new territory with a test of an emergency alerts system in its home market of Sweden. According to code references found within the Spotify app, the company is considering a system that would help distribute public announcements related to things like “accidents, serious events or disruptions of important services.”

The company confirmed to TechCrunch it’s testing such a system, but didn’t explain why it would be interested in providing this kind of service to its users. There’s no Swedish law requiring the app to do so and Spotify says that, for now, it’s only exploring whether or not the app could support something like an emergency alerts system.

The feature was first uncovered by technologist and reverse engineer Chris Messina, who theorized that an emergency alerts service could push Spotify users to enable their app notifications. Often, users disable alerts from non-essential apps, like those in the social networking or entertainment space, which makes it more difficult for the app to catch users’ attention and market its new features.

But more broadly, supporting emergency alerts could also solidify Spotify’s position as a more essential app to have on hand. It also steps into Meta’s territory, as the social network has for nearly a decade offered ways for users to get updates during major disasters with its Safety Check feature. Google also leveraged its app’s popularity to alert users of disasters, as with its earthquake alerts on Android. In the U.S., lawmakers have previously weighed the idea of requiring online video and streaming apps to support emergency alerts in addition to TV and radio broadcasters and cable TV systems.

Code references in Spotify’s app mention the feature across the following phrases:

  • “Emergency alerts in Sweden”
  • “Receive public emergency alerts”
  • “Important public announcement, IPA, is the system used to alert the public in Sweden in the case of accidents, serious events, or disruptions of important services”
  • “Visit the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency site for more information”

Reached for comment, a company rep for Spotify confirmed the test in a statement, adding it was only being tested in Sweden for the time being.

“At Spotify, we routinely conduct a number of tests in an effort to improve our user experience,” they said. “Some of those tests end up paving the way for our broader user experience while most serve only as an important learning.”



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