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Spotify has unveiled a major revamp of its mobile app at the Stream On event in LA. The update leverages personalization technology and incorporates a short-form video feed similar to that popularized by TikTok. The revamped app includes several new features, such as vertically scrolling “discovery” feeds, a Smart Shuffle mode for playlist recommendations, and a podcast autoplay feature.
While some features, such as Smart Shuffle, will be exclusive to subscribers, others, like the TikTok-style feeds, will be accessible to all. However, their availability will vary across different markets and roll out at different intervals.
According to Spotify, the recent changes to its user interface aim to make the app more dynamic and engaging. However, these modifications could also provide an opportunity for the company to introduce ads, similarly to how Instagram incorporated Reels. While Spotify has not made any official announcements yet, they expressed their excitement about the potential of these features in an email to TechCrunch.
Furthermore, revamping the app design could address some of the complaints from users who find the current layout cluttered and challenging to navigate, leading to limited music discovery. The latest changes build on the ones introduced in August 2022, which separated music and podcasts into their respective feeds. The revamped design will be apparent from the Home tab of the app, where users will see the updated features immediately.
Fortunately, users will not be thrown into the new TikTok-like experience without any prior notification or guidance.
The music feed on Spotify has been revamped to prioritize personalized playlists and mixes. These features have been a cornerstone of the platform since the launch of Discover Weekly in 2015, and have since expanded to cater to a wide variety of music tastes and activities. After highlighting these playlists and mixes, the app will showcase its recently launched AI DJ feature, which is currently only available to Premium subscribers in the U.S. and Canada. The AI DJ uses generative AI and a natural-sounding voice to present music selections and offer information about the artist, song, or album.
As you continue to scroll down, you’ll be presented with full-screen videos that feature an artist’s existing Canvas video. These videos are successful in increasing streams, shares, saves, and adds, according to Spotify.
Spotify has been experimenting with a TikTok-style feed for some time, and its Canvas feature provided the perfect opportunity to do so. The music streaming service had been testing a vertical feed in its app in 2021 and again in 2022. However, Spotify dismissed these tests as ongoing experiments.
Recently, a TikTok-like video feed was spotted in testing in Spotify’s mobile app, which was distributed to its TestFlight testers. The design that Spotify has now settled on, following its earlier tests, presents a snippet of the track’s audio combined with video. This feature enables users to preview an album, playlist, or a single.
You can tap through the preview card to preview up to five tracks with playlists and albums. In some cases, users will also receive contextual indications about why they’re being recommended these items. Interestingly, you can listen to your music on mute while scrolling through the recommendation feed.
When you find something you like, you can tap on the card to go to the full album or playlist view, or you can stop your music and start listening to the suggestion. Recommendations can also be added to your Liked Songs or any other playlists for later listening.
The podcast feed on Spotify has been updated with a new user interface that allows for vertical scrolling. Unlike the music feed, which includes looping videos, the podcast feed includes audio snippets of podcast episodes that last up to 60 seconds and have real-time transcriptions. Users can scroll through the feed without sound and unmute to continue listening to a particular episode. They can also add the episode to their playlist by tapping the Plus (+) button. The audiobook feed will be structured similarly to the new music and podcast feeds.
Spotify’s new discovery feeds will be integrated into the Search tab, allowing users to explore personalized feeds for different genres and moods. The algorithm behind these feeds will rank suggestions based on individual user preferences, rather than general popularity. In addition to the new feeds, there are also minor tweaks being made to improve the discovery process.
Spotify has introduced a new feature called “Smart Shuffle” for its Premium subscribers, which automates song recommendations for their playlists. The feature will add suggested tracks to the queue as the playlist is being streamed, and listeners can either add or remove them from the playlist. The tracks recommended by Spotify will be indicated with a sparkle icon, and the new feature is already rolling out worldwide. This will help to refresh listeners’ playlists by suggesting and visualizing additional songs that fit perfectly with the existing playlist.
Moreover, podcast listeners will also receive a new feature that automatically starts playing a recommended episode after finishing an episode from a different show. According to Spotify, this feature has been highly demanded by users and will help them discover new shows. Those who don’t want to use this feature can turn it off in Settings.
Spotify has launched a redesign of its mobile app with new features aimed at improving content discovery, which has been a major issue for both fans and creators. As radio has become obsolete, artists have become more reliant on platforms like Spotify to feature their tracks and playlists. The new features and the AI DJ feature launched earlier should help in opening up new avenues for finding fans.
However, this update might be controversial as some users are getting tired of the “TikTok-ification” of every app they use. But, according to Spotify, recommendations are crucial to its experience. The company’s co-president and chief product & technology officer, Gustav Söderström, mentioned that Spotify recommendations drive nearly half of all users’ streams. He added that every time your music gets played on a program playlist like Release Radar, you receive on average three times more streams from that listener over the next six months.
Initially, Spotify’s redesign will only be available on mobile devices, but it will be rolled out to more devices later. The update will be released in phases to the platform’s 500+ million monthly active users, meaning that not everyone will see it immediately, but it will be available soon.
What do you think about Spotify’s decision to add TikTok-inspired discovery feeds and Smart Shuffle for playlists? Do you think these updates will enhance the user experience on the platform, or do you prefer Spotify without these features? Share your thoughts in the comments below.