Spotify officially debuted on May 11 with the long-penetrating Group Sessions feature. With Group sessions nearby, friends can take over your Spotify music queue. For example, it's useful for hosting a Spotify party in your backyard, but you can't listen to it remotely with friends.
However, group sessions reminded me of Turntable.fm, the legendary and long-defunct web and mobile app that allows you to go to rooms where you and your friends can listen to tunes together, the DJ jacket back and forth pass on and vote on each other's choices. Turntable.fm only lasted a few years (the service closed after it finally signed licensing agreements with the four major US music labels), but it was great while it lasted. Those of us who miss it have been looking for a replacement ever since.
It turns out that in the iOS and Android app stores, there are plenty of apps for listening with friends, most of which piggyback on popular music streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music.
The app that immediately warmed me up is JQBX ("Jukebox"), which allows you ̵
JQBX, which First launched about three years ago, it is a free app for iOS, Android and Internet, but you need a Spotify Premium account to use it.
Once you log into Spotify (thankfully you don't need to create a separate JQBX account), you jump to a list of the most popular listening areas. Tens are available at any time ("Chill Vibes", "Pizza & Beer", "Sea of Metal", "The Bat Cave" and "Isolation Station" were among the rooms I found one morning), complete with album art covers for the song currently playing along with the genre of the room and how many listeners and DJs are in it.
When you enter a room, you immediately hear the synchronized music being played for everyone, and you can give the current song a thumbs up or down, somehow hitting your voices on an approval needle (a feature that users of Turntable.fm should sound familiar). If you're feeling inspired, you can drop the needle on songs in your own JQBX music queue by becoming a DJ yourself. And yes, there is a chat window.
In addition to joining an existing music room in JQBX, you can also create one that you can make public or private. Once you've created a room, you can share a URL that anyone who wants to listen can listen provided they also have a Spotify Premium account. All in all, JQBX provides an easy way to do what Spotify's Group doesn't do Session feature: listen to music remotely with friends in real time. Yes there are other apps that do something similar but none that itch the Turntable.fm like this.