Spotify is on the verge of redesigning its app’s user interfaces in what it calls the “biggest evolution” of its app so far.
The redesign announcement was made at the Stream On event this week where the company said it planned to roll out the redesign in the next coming months.
The overhaul will substantially “come alive” according to the company’s founder Daniel Ek who said the interface will now incorporate all the features of the app including videos and audiobooks apart from just music streaming.
While this was supposed to be good news at least for users, the reception was quite opposite as observers pointed out that the new look isn’t exactly “New” as the company had bragged.
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The redesign is said to be a mimicry of existing popular services such as TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram all meshed together.
So be warned because once the so-called revamp is complete, the homepage may start auto-playing a video podcast that it thinks you might like.
Also, there will be some new additional features such as tapping on music or podcast sections which will bring up a vertical scrolling feed of content which is an attempt to keep users engaged rather than the simple and familiar rows of recently-played tacks and recommended playlists the app is known for.
“Spotify must go back to the heart of its brand – put sound first,” says Grace Bilney of creative agency Redhouse.
“The new design is confusing and image-led. It sends the wrong message.”
It’s an assessment shared by many of those who watched the Stream On event.
I’m at a Spotify event where CEO @eldsjal just announced what he calls the “biggest change” to the app since launch of mobile over a decade ago.— Alex Heath (@alexeheath) March 8, 2023
It’s a TikTok-like visual feed with clips of music and other stuff, replacing the main tab. Thoughts? pic.twitter.com/vSx6Z33Gpu
“Oh no. No no no. There’s *zero* need to turn Spotify into a TikTok-like experience. We need a moratorium on whatever the hell is happening to tech CEOs.” Said a Twitter user by the name of Tony Webster (@Webster)
“I don’t want Spotify to be TikTok. I want it to be @Spotify. Please stop feed-ifying every single damn app.” complained another user by the name of Natalie Dowzicky (@Nat_Dowzicky)
Popular music producer, Tommy Danvers, who worked with artists like Janet Jackson and Tom Jones thinks the redesign is probably a user experience mistake as it takes too much semblance of TikTok.
“When you’ve already got an app that’s dominant within its particular field, which Spotify is, trying to compete on a different level doesn’t make sense to me,” he says.
“Muddying the waters is robbing something from the experience.”
Spotify is quite popular relative to Apple Music which is its direct competitor but Ek and his team think this type of design aesthetics will help keep users on the platform as well as take away any potential future threat as it tries to hold on to its audiences for as long as it possibly can.
I mean if we’re to consider it, even Instagram which had its niche back then had to make the design tweak that led to it being compared to TikTok as well as the company soon changed its focus from photography to Reels. The company also stole the stories feature from Snapchat which was integrated across a plethora of apps owned by Meta including WhatsApp.
TikTok seems to be the trendsetter of content-based apps and everyone wants a piece of the cake Even Netflix incorporated the vertical-scroll video feature in its app, Pinterest did the same and called it Ideal Pin. So it isn’t a surprising thing to see Spotify attempting it as well.
Even though the craze is never ending, some social platforms like LinkedIn maintained their distance although the stories feature was tried before and dropped soon after.
Will Amazon one day become an endless treadmill of algorithmically-generated purchasing suggestions?
Is Microsoft Teams just going to transform into a vertical feed of meetings it thinks you may like to join? In fairness, there’s likely no better way to revive the annoying Clippy mascot.
Bilney says it’s all part of an attempt by tech companies to piggyback on the success of “micro-attention apps”, keeping users hooked by funneling a huge amount of content past them in a short space of time.
With TikTok on the verge of being ousted in the United States and other European countries, American brands like Instagram, YouTube, and now Spotify might just be the ones to continue reaping the benefit of the micro-attention-type design
‘These platforms are about attention’
“It’s a huge chance they’re taking,” Danvers says of Spotify’s redesign, which he sees as another sign of people’s changing attitudes towards music since streaming took hold.
“The value has been sucked out of music over the past 10 to 15 years – everybody wants music, but nobody’s prepared to pay for it, they’re quite happy to watch it for free on YouTube or have the free tier on Spotify.
“And now we’re in the middle of a subscription war in a cost of living crisis. Maybe a few years ago you were comfortable having a few of them, but now people are thinking ‘do I need all these?’
“At the end of the day, all these platforms are about attention – can I keep your attention as long as possible?”
Although it seems the company might already be working on implementing the design across its app the effects of the redesign are still being questioned because the redesign will certainly affect the app’s user experience in every way possible.