Spotify has long is a platform that evolves faster than our individual musical tastes. It updated its signature year-end Wrapped sale and added an AI DJ in the past few months alone.But this week, the streaming giant announced what its CEO Daniel Ek called the biggest Change Ten years later to the platform: a redesign that makes an app that started out as a music venue into one that stands out for videos.
At first glance, this appears to be yet another attempt by a social app to cannibalize its rivals, in the same way that Instagram imitated Snapchat and then TikTok for its own benefit. Spotify now has distinct feeds to discover songs, podcasts, and audiobooks, with a look that’s half TikTok’s endless scroll, half Instagram Stories. They show videos paired with music or podcasts, as well as sample audio content. Some feature live subtitles that catch the eye as they float across the screen, and previews of audiobooks can last up to five minutes.
Although Spotify now looks and sounds more like TikTok, it may have different intentions. Rather than funneling a steady stream of content onto users’ phones, it’s designed to let them preview new content they want to save — or at least sit around for longer. According to Spotify’s announcement, it has data showing listeners “become loyal fans” after previewing content. Previously on the service, videos accompanied songs and podcasts, but this redesign brings them to users faster, along with snappy audio clips.
“Audio services need to give people immediate access to audio,” said Simon Dyson, music and digital audio analyst at Omdia. “If they can get something that plays audio right away, then you’re hooked right away. If [Spotify] If the algorithm is correct, you’ll be in it right away. “
Spotify’s playlists have long been curated for music discovery, but this new initiative makes that even more immediate; scrolling through the music feed lets you hear song samples. Maybe it means skipping random playlists less often. Such a move could help Spotify differentiate itself in the audio streaming industry, Dyson said. It comes at a time when streaming growth is changing.
The market has reached saturation point, and while Spotify remains the most popular service, its market share is slowly shrinking. Still, it added 33 million monthly active users in the final months of 2022, with revenue up 18% year-over-year, with podcasts leading its ad revenue growth.
Spotify is trying to differentiate itself by investing hundreds of millions of dollars in podcasting, including a deal with Joe Rogan reportedly worth more than $200 million. The company expects podcasts to have higher profit margins than music. So designing apps in a way that might draw more people to them seems like an inevitable shift. But Spotify has canceled several original shows in late 2022 after making ambitious investments in companies like Gimlet and Parcast.
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