Spotify – How good is it at music actually?

Spotify – How good is it at music actually?
I've recently started using Spotify desktop app frequently, so I decided to share some thoughts on the experience. This article isn't a diss or anything similar, just an honest opinion on what I experienced.

I am starting with the Home, one of the best pages in the app and the one that makes the most sense to me. It neatly displays shortcuts, recently played items and suggestions for discovering new content based on the music you listened to before.

The section that could be improved, though, is the Shortcuts. Hiding items behind a carousel is defeating its purpose of saving you time and a few clicks. Displaying these suggestions in a grid would allow a much faster selection. Currently, it’s easier just to use Recently Played, which has more music anyway.

Now let’s talk about the Browse and one of Spotify’s point that is really missing the mark – discoverability. The Browse page is divided by tabs into Genres & Moods, Podcasts, Charts, New Releases, Discover, and Concerts. Diving deeper into each of these tabs will not get you far if you truly want to discover new artists or even find something you’re usually not listening to. Each page inside the Browse shows just a small number of albums or playlists, mostly based on your listening history.

From the design point of view, the Browse page also feels disconnected from the Spotify brand and overall design. The use of poorly chosen stock photos and some very generic icons feels very cheap and disconnected from the rest of the app. Web player has a different design that much better fits the brand.

Furthermore, I expected that I’d be able to browse and filter exciting new artists under the page of the same name — Artists. What I found there is a confusing list of 12 artists that seem random and a search bar titled “Filter” that doesn’t accept filtering queries. All these points drove me to conclude that Spotify is great if you know exactly what you want to listen to, but it might not be the best tool if you wish to find new music.

A search bar is the best tool for exploration and discovery, but given that you have the Browse page with various categories, it seems counter-intuitive to hide so much content behind a search bar.

The suggestions are confusing, and adding a song that's currently playing to a playlist is not as easy as it should be.

It might be that I don’t understand Spotify’s recommendation algorithm, but two pages that are not making sense to me are “Made For You” and “Recently Played”. Made For You is supposed to create playlists of the music I mostly listen to, but it’s just compiling songs that I’ve listened a few times, while the favorites are not there. The same goes for Recently Played. While this page is on point with what to show, it’s not updating regularly, and it’s only showing the songs and albums that have been on repeat many times.

Finally, one thing that I find annoying is their nudge to get you to connect with friends. The sidebar that I can’t seem to turn off is not engaging enough to motivate me to find friends and too big to ignore, so I end up with a big blob that’s using up valuable space.

To conclude with something positive, given that I’ve critiqued a lot, I absolutely love the in-car mobile app feature. Spotify recognizes when you enter a car and provides an entirely different experience. The app is super-simplified, everything is big and easy to press, and that is the absolute highlight of all their products for me. So kudos to the peeps at Spotify, and I hope to see more creative ideas like that in the future.

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