Spotify update isn’t going well – why are so many apps using the same skin? | Science & Tech News
Spotify joins Instagram, YouTube, TikTok and other media apps in trying to capture our attention while we’re on our phones. Will the major overhaul attract more users or backfire?
By Tom Acres, technology reporter
Sunday 12 March 2023 02:03 UK
Spotify is gearing up to launch what it’s calling the “biggest evolution” yet of the popular music streaming app.
Announced this week at the Stream On event and rolling out over the coming months, its 500 million users will see a major overhaul on their home screens, which founder Daniel Ek says will see the platform “come to life” with a variety of content — from video. for audiobooks.
But it didn’t take long for observers to point out that the new look was nothing new at all. On the contrary, given its desire to become an all-encompassing distraction, it now looks like TikTokYouTube and Instagram they put it in a blender and smothered the phone screen so there was no free space.
Open Spotify once the renovation is complete and the home screen can automatically play a video podcast you might like; Tapping on the music or podcasts section brings up vertically scrolling content that entices you to try new things and keeps you “engaged.”
Remember when all you wanted to do was play music?
“Spotify needs to get back to the essence of the brand – putting sound first,” says Grace Bilney of creative agency Redhouse.
“The new design is confusing and image-driven. It sends the wrong message.”
This assessment was shared by many of those who watched the Stream On event.
Music producer Tommy Danvers, who has worked with artists such as Kylie Minogue, Janet Jackson and Tom Jones, says efforts to replicate the TikTok-style user experience are a mistake.
“If you already have an app that’s dominant in its space, which is Spotify, it doesn’t make sense to me to compete at another level,” he says.
“Muddying the waters takes something away from the experience.”
The changing face of your favorite applications
To Spotify’s fairness, it’s by no means alone when it comes to apps trying to reinvent themselves.
That’s why Instagram, once focused only on photos, took the Stories feature from Snapchat and turned to short-form videos when TikTok launched. YouTube did the same when it launched Shorts in 2021, another endless vertical feed that will appeal to snappy clips.
And TikTok is more than just a trend setter, having joined Facebook last year in what it calls BeReal’s novel one-picture-a-day approach, labeling it ‘TikTok Now’.
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So why are so many apps so desperate to adopt the same features and aesthetics?
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According to Bilney, it’s all part of an attempt by tech companies to push for the success of “micro-awareness apps,” engaging users by delivering massive amounts of content to them in a short amount of time.
And you need the there are growing calls to ban TikTok due to privacy concerns If it comes to fruition, it could seem like a smart play if Instagram, YouTube or Spotify have already laid the groundwork to refresh their user base.
“These platforms are about attention”
“It’s a huge opportunity that they’re taking advantage of,” Danvers says of Spotify’s redesign, which he says is a change in the way people approach music since streaming began.
“In the last 10-15 years, they’ve drained the value out of music – everyone wants music, but no one is willing to pay for it, they’re very happy if they can watch it for free on YouTube, or Spotify has the free tier.
“And now we’re in the middle of a subscription war because of the cost of living crisis. Maybe a few years ago it was cool to have a few of these, but now people are thinking, ‘do I really need these?’
“At the end of the day, these platforms are about attention – can I keep your attention as long as possible?”
Spotify bosses seemed to admit as much when unveiling their new-look app.
The company’s co-chairman, Gustav Soderstrom, opened his remarks about the redesign by saying that today’s world is “pulling us in a million different directions.”
Increasingly, it seems that many of the apps we use are determined to do the same.