Spotify has always been a platform that evolves faster than personal music tastes. It has updated its special promotion at the end of the year and added an AI DJ in the last few months alone. But this week, the streaming giant announced what its CEO, Daniel Ek, described as the biggest changes To the platform in a decade: a redesign to make the app that started as a music venue feature video more prominently.
At first glance, it looks like yet another attempt by a social app to cannibalize its competitors the way Instagram imitated Snapchat and then TikTok for its own gain. Spotify now has different feeds for discovering songs, podcasts, and audiobooks, sporting a look that’s half infinite scrolling TikTok and half Instagram Stories. They show videos paired with music or podcasts and also sample audio content. Some have live captions that catch the eye when they float along the screen, and audiobook previews can last up to five minutes.
While Spotify may look like TikTok now, it likely has different intentions. Instead of directing an endless stream of content to users’ phones, it’s designed with the purpose of letting them preview new content they want to save — or at least sit with it for a while longer. According to Spotify’s advertisementIt contains data showing that listeners “became committed fans” after viewing the content. Videos previously accompanied songs and podcasts on the service, but this redesign puts them in front of users faster, along with quick audio clips.
said Simon Dyson, music and digital audio analyst at omdia. “If they can get something to play audio right away, you’ll like it right away. Lou [Spotify] Good algorithm, you’ll get involved right away.”
Spotify playlists have long been curated for music discovery, but this new move makes that even more compelling; Scroll through the music feed and you can hear samples of the songs. Maybe that means less skipping on shuffled playlists. Dyson says such a move could help Spotify stand out in the podcasting industry. This comes with a changing flow of growth.
The market has reached saturation point, and Spotify has seen its market share slowly shrink, although it remains the most popular service. However, it added 33 million monthly active users in the final months of 2022 and saw its revenue grow 18 percent year-over-year, with advertising revenue gains led by podcasts.
Spotify has tried to stand out by investing hundreds of millions of dollars in podcasting, including a deal with Joe Rogan that is said to be worth more than $200 million. The company expects the podcast to contain a Higher profit margin from the music. So designing the app in a way that might direct more people to them seems like an inevitable shift. But Spotify canceled Several original shows in late 2022 after making ambitious investments in companies like Gimlet and Parcast.
It’s not the only broadcast trying to give some content its own space. On Thursday, Apple Music announced the standalone program For classical music that will be available at the end of March. There is a shift happening in how these apps package different types of content. Some Spotify playlists, such as the Daily Drive, have criticized lengthy podcasts next to songs that didn’t necessarily stream. Separate feeds may be more flexible for people looking for specific content – if they’re willing to spend the time exploring it.
TikTokification of Spotify sounds like another messy decision that leaves Spotify without a strong identity, says George Howard, professor of music business at Berklee College of Music. They’re part social company, part music streaming device, and part podcast platform. But in all of these changes, they’ve failed to find ways to sustainably pay artists for the work that supports the platform. “At this point, they’re just screwing up,” Howard says.
Getting people to watch videos means that users will have to make a conversion; While music and podcasts often play in the background, they will now take center stage on the phone screen for much longer. For those who want to stick to the music, they still have 100 million songs on Spotify to choose from, with a new way for the algorithm to try and present them all.
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