How to Make Spotify Even Better

How to Make Spotify Even Better

CategoriesMusic · Technology

I love Spotify. I use the streaming service to listen to music on my commute to work, during my entire workday, and most of the evening at home. In 2016, I listened to 113,442 minutes of music on Spotify. I’m a proud owner of a Premium account and consider the $9.99 a month well worth every cent. And because I use it so much, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking of how the already great streaming service could be even better.

(Note that this is purely from a music listener’s perspective. I won’t get started on the design of the user interface, the problems with the web player or the amount they actually pay artists…)

Tell me how long my play queue is

This doesn’t seem too difficult… albums and playlist note their length in minutes but when you add tracks to your play queue, it just lists the tracks and their individual lengths. I want to know how long my current queue is going to last.

No album credits? Or any relevant info?

On the Spotify desktop app, each album notes the year it was released and copyright info. But sometimes the year isn’t enough… I’ll forget which specific month an album came out and am left guessing and Googling to find out. I’d also love to be able to see more credits – who produced the tracks, where the album was recorded and mixed, etc. – and maybe be able to click on each producer to see what other work they’ve done. The same thing would work great for record labels – browsing the label’s other releases for similar artists.

Where are all my friends?

I think Spotify’s friend feed is the biggest opportunity for improvement. Music is such a social activity and I’m always curious what my friends are listening to. The tiny “friend activity” sidebar is an alright feature, but what if the app’s home page was more of a social feed? You see which friends started following which artists, which playlists they’ve created, songs they’ve listened to. Maybe you’d be able to comment on their activity, start discussions about music and share recommendations easier. Spotify already integrates with Facebook so I could see this working really well.

And speaking of a news feed…

I WANT TO KNOW WHEN ARTISTS I LISTEN TO RELEASE NEW MUSIC

I consider myself pretty on top of new releases, mostly from social media and music blogs. But it would be in both mine and Spotify’s own interests to keep me within the app as much as possible. The recent “Release Radar” playlist is a handy feature but 95% of the tracks are just re-released singles and remixes. Imagine that same friend feed I mentioned above but with separate “Friends” and “Artists” filters, where you’d be able to see a list of each new release – be it a single or album – from every artist you follow. And then – just like every other social network – you’d have the option to turn on notifications for certain users you follow. You’d never miss another new release again!

Where did the lyrics go?

Spotify used to have a feature that showed the lyrics of the song, which has since been taken down (they announced it was coming back months ago but no news yet). Again I’m forced to leave the app whenever I want to look up the lyrics of the song I’m listening to.

All in all, these are pretty minor concerns – overall I’m pleased with Spotify and it’s helped me discovered some amazing artists I otherwise would never have listened to. It’s such a great service but with a few small tweaks and added features it could be so much better.

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When not working as a designer, Matt's either reading a book and drinking whiskey or writing a book and drinking coffee.

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