Spotify’s new design turns your music and podcasts into a TikTok feed

Spotify has redesigned its app’s core homescreen, trying to make it easier for users to find something new to listen to – and watch. The new design is heavy on imagery and vertical scrolling, turning your homescreen from a collection of album covers to a feed more akin to TikTok and Instagram. As you scroll, Spotify also hopes to make it easier to discover new things across the Spotify ecosystem.

The new look, which Spotify recently announced at its Stream On event, is clear evidence of the kind of company (and product) Spotify wants to be. Over the past few years, it has invested heavily in podcasts, audiobooks, live audio, and more, all in an attempt to become more than just a music app. The company also wants to be a home for creators: Spotify CEO Daniel Ek said The Verge by 2021 he hopes to have more than 50 million “audio creators” on the platform. Spotify also pushed for years to make video podcasts happen and now most are watching as YouTube pulls them off.

Put it all together, and that’s a lot of stuff to put into an app called Spotify. Spotify is on a seemingly relentless quest to push people into content that is more diverse and more useful, which often means listening to music is harder. So the new design of the app seems to be partly aimed at creating more dedicated space for all the new types of content. Spotify for years has been trying to find ways to put podcasts and music and everything together but seems to have recognized that the best answer is to give each thing more space to breathe.

Podcast discovery is especially important for Spotify to get right.
Image: Spotify

Going forward, when you open Spotify, you’ll still see more albums and covers in the top playlist. But underneath, you can see an autoplaying video podcast, which you can jump to with one tap. Or you might see a large, Instagram-style photo meant to tell you a little more about a playlist you like.

If you tap on “Music” or “Podcasts & Movies,” you’ll be taken to a vertically scrolling feed that looks like Instagram Stories or TikTok.

At the top, if you tap on “Music” or “Podcasts and Shows,” you’ll be taken to a vertically scrolling feed that looks more like Instagram Stories or TikTok than the Spotify you’re used to, just dedicated. that section of Spotify. You can flip as many as you want, each one autoplays to give you a feel for what it’s like, or tap one to dive in and save or explore it further.

There is an obvious tension in the design, between Spotify wanting to make the app a calmer and more navigable space while also trying to find new ways to attract people to new things. There’s more autoplaying content than ever before in the app now and more ways to quickly preview songs and playlists without diving in completely. Billions of users are used to swiping through a dozen items they don’t want before landing on the one they do. And with this new look, every song or playlist or podcast gets a little more chance to grab you.

Playlists are Spotify’s main – and, for all intents and purposes, only – source of discovery, but with the new design, there’s a greater emphasis on getting you to new things. . That makes particular sense in podcasts, where Spotify needs to find ways to recoup its huge investment in the space. Ek may admit he made the mistake of betting too big on new types of audio, and the company has downsized its team in the space, but that doesn’t mean he’s slowing down.

Another new thing you might notice in Spotify is more personalized AI. The Smart Shuffle feature, which temporarily adds tracks to your existing playlists, is supposedly an improvement on the “playlist for you” idea that Spotify has been working on for years – and don’t forget the DJ, the AI rotating records and hosting yourself. personal radio show.

Spotify is the biggest player in music streaming but continues to want to acquire audio in a bigger way. That’s what the new design really shows: that Spotify is no longer a music app and shouldn’t look like one – and, hopefully, not like a mish-mash-y mess of content , even.

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