Spotify is getting ready to roll out what it is hailed because the “biggest evolution” to its in style music streaming app so far.
Announced at its Stream On occasion this week and set to roll out over the approaching months, its 500 million customers will see their dwelling display get a considerable makeover that founder Daniel Ek says will see the platform “come alive” with completely different content material – from movies to audiobooks.
But it did not take lengthy for observers to level out that the brand new look was not significantly new in any respect. Quite the alternative, given its makes an attempt to turn into an all-encompassing attention-sapper now has it trying like TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram have been piled right into a blender and smothered over your cellphone display with no room to spare.
Open Spotify as soon as the revamp is full, and your private home display might autoplay a video podcast you may like; tapping into the music or podcasts part will carry up a vertical scrolling feed of content material, eager to entice you into attempting new issues and maintain you “engaged”.
Remember when it simply wished to play music?
“Spotify must go back to the heart of its brand – put sound first,” says Grace Bilney of artistic company Redhouse.
“The new design is confusing and image-led. It sends the wrong message.”
It’s an evaluation shared by a lot of those that watched the Stream On occasion.
Music producer Tommy Danvers, who has labored with artists like Kylie Minogue, Janet Jackson, and Tom Jones, thinks efforts to echo a TikTok-style consumer expertise are a mistake.
“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.”
The altering face of your favorite apps
In equity to Spotify, it’s on no account alone in the case of apps attempting to reinvent themselves.
While most would contemplate Spotify’s predominant competitor to be one thing like Apple Music (which Spotify is comfortably forward of by way of customers and attain), Ek and his workforce will see something that threatens how a lot time you spend on their app as a possible rival.
It’s why Instagram, as soon as centered on nothing greater than images, took its tales characteristic from Snapchat and pivoted in the direction of short-form video when TikTok took off. YouTube did the identical by launching Shorts in 2021 – one more limitless vertical feed of snappy clips you may like.
And TikTok is not only a trend-setter, as a result of it joined Facebook final yr in nicking the novel “one image a day” strategy taken by the upstart app BeReal and labelling it “TikTok Now”.
So why are so many apps so determined to undertake the identical options and aesthetic?
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Bilney says it is all a part of an try by tech corporations to piggyback on the success of “micro-attention apps”, preserving customers hooked by funnelling an enormous quantity of content material previous them in a brief area of time.
And ought to the rising calls to ban TikTok over privateness considerations come to fruition, it might look a wise play if Instagram, YouTube, or Spotify have down already down the groundwork to mop up a few of its consumer base.
‘These platforms are about consideration’
“It’s a huge chance they’re taking,” Danvers says of Spotify’s redesign, which he sees as one other signal of individuals’s altering attitudes in the direction of music since streaming took maintain.
“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 course of a subscription battle in a value of residing disaster. Maybe a couple of years in the past you have been snug having a couple of of them, however now individuals are considering ‘do I actually need all these?’
“At the end of the day, all these platforms are about attention – can I keep your attention as long as possible?”
Spotify bosses appeared to confess as a lot throughout the unveiling of their new-look app.
The firm’s co-president Gustav Soderstrom opened his remarks on the redesign by noting that in the present day’s world “pulls us in a million different directions”.
Increasingly, most of the apps we use appear decided to do the identical.