Thursday, February 3, 2022 [Tweets] [Favorites]

How Well the Spotify App Works

Chance Miller:

First and foremost, Spotify is indeed much faster and more reliable than Apple Music when it comes to loading and searching for music.

[…]

The number one reason my experiment is over is because of Spotify’s absolute insistence that if you use Spotify for music, you must also use it for podcasts. This manifests itself in multiple different ways, one of the most notable being the barrage of podcast recommendations in the “Home” tab of the Spotify app.

[…]

Additionally, Spotify will even try and make playlists for you that mix and match podcasts and music.

[…]

I have other issues with Spotify, including its poor adoption of Apple standards like AirPlay 2, and its poor support for local files.

I tried it recently and found the interface strange and inefficient.

Via Matt Birchler:

I know people swear by Spotify, but every time I’ve tried to use it, it’s a dumpster fire of an experience for me.

Previously:

Update (2022-02-04): Matt Birchler:

Yesterday I complained that Spotify doesn’t support your own MP3, but that’s not technically true!

You gotta add them to a playlist and sync that playlist over to your phone, which isn’t at all what I want personally, but they do have it, so correction issued!

7 Comments

Beatrix Willius

How can a UI be weirder than Apple Music/iTunes? I cursed every time I had to use the app. Must try!

I feel the same about Spotify. I guess it's a learning curve, but a very steep one. Apple Music — which I've been using for years now — is far from perfect and kind of slow, but things sort of makes sense. Before I used Tidal, and the UI was absolutely great, and adding one single song to your collection didn't make it appear in your album list, so this was the best thing.

Spotify works fine for listening to music, but the way they tried to integrate Podcasts into it makes it literally the worst possible way to listen to podcasts.

I think music streaming apps are impossible to design in a way that pleases every one (maybe even anyone), and smashing podcasts right into everything else didn't make things easier for Spotify.

But for me they all do a decent job, since I'm happy listening to auto generated playlists based on a song or artist.

I have used both services and generally prefer Spotify. Management of Playlists is a lot easier in Spotify in my opinion.

Right now I'm subscribed to Apple Music for free due to some very generous promotional coupons. It works fine most of the time. There is one thing though, that I really hate about it. Once your subscription ends, all your carefully crafted playlists disappear from the interface. There is no way to export them after the paid plan ends. I think that's a very stupid and user hostile design decision.

"The number one reason my experiment is over is because of Spotify’s absolute insistence that if you use Spotify for music, you must also use it for podcasts. This manifests itself in multiple different ways, one of the most notable being the barrage of podcast recommendations in the “Home” tab of the Spotify app."

I've been a very-long-time Spotify subscriber, and I have no idea what Miller is talking about here. The 'podcast pushing' Spotify does amounts to one single row of recommended "Episodes for You" on the home page, both on desktop and mobile. I can easily use Spotify to listen to music without feeling the least compelled to use it for podcasts too (for which my app of choice on iOS is Pocket Casts).

I do agree that Spotify's UI could be improved (ironically, it was better before, in the iOS 5-iOS 6 era for example), but this thing about podcasts seems greatly exaggerated to me.

I think we will be stuck with awkward music/podcast apps as long as the primary business model is to sell and up-sell "services" instead of selling software licenses.

The first priority for Spotify, Apple, etc is to maximize subscription revenue through pushing new content/subscriptions without pissing off users so much that too many of them stop buying or actually leave the service. These days, revenue-focused "features" are much more easily tested and validated than in the past, so such features almost always get higher priority in the development queue than user-focused features that are harder to tie directly to revenue.

In this algorithm-driven world, it's emphatically not about delighting users; it's about keeping them just satisfied enough that they keep paying and incrementally pay more over time. To expect excellent music/podcast playing experiences from Apple, Spotify, etc. in 2022 strikes me as wishful thinking. The best we can expect is mere competence with a minimum of aggravation.

Stay up-to-date by subscribing to the Comments RSS Feed for this post.

Leave a Comment