A Bold New User Experience
But of more interest, to me at least, was a slew of new features that collectively transform the Spotify experience. Spotify has made a bold UI transformation from a list-based approach to a rich visual experience with modules of music content (which visually looks like a cross between Rdio and Pinterest). These include music, artwork, bio information, reviews from Pitchfork, Songkick gig information, recommendations based on your behaviour. In doing this, Spotify has made a subtle but powerful transition from streaming music player to immersive music platform.
Spotify Thinks the Discovery Question Does Need Answering
Spotify also announced, as TechCrunch had correctly predicted, a new social discovery tool called Follow, whereby users can follow people’s whose music tastes they want to keep up with. People can follow friends or music influencers such as artists, music bloggers, music journos etc. pretty much in the way they would on Twitter, but here they get sent playlists of music to listen to instantly rather than 140 characters of static text.
Spotify are trying to answer the big discovery question which has so far gone largely unanswered, despite plenty of well-intentioned efforts to come up with a solution. Discovery has been the centre of some pretty heated debate of late – as this and this post show – but whether or not it gets fixed in the wider music industry it is a huge issue for streaming music services. What is the point of having all the music in the world at your fingertips if a search bar is all you have to find your way around.