Spotify Unveils Major Redesign With Vertical Home Feed
The TikTokification of Spotify has begun.
The audio giant is refreshing its home page with a vertical feed that is meant to better integrate Spotify’s offerings across music, podcasts, videos and audiobooks. Users will be given video previews of music and podcasts that they can scroll through, with recommendations powered by machine learning, on the home feed, executives said at Spotify’s Stream On event on Wednesday.
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“This marks the biggest change Spotify has undergone since we introduced mobile 10 years ago,” Spotify CEO Daniel Ek said. “This evolution is really about bringing Spotify to life.”
The major product updates come as part of Spotify’s goal to reach 1 billion users by 2030, which would be double what Spotify currently has in 184 markets, according to Alex Norström, Spotify’s co-president and chief business officer. The changes to the home feed and user experience are meant to lean into Spotify as a discoverability tool, rather than for keeping users on the platform for a long time, Spotify co-president and chief product and tech officer Gustav Söderström said.
“While we are building very effective mechanisms for discovery, we are not optimizing for time spent in the feed like other platforms,” Söderström said. “Spotify optimizes for helping you discover content.”
On the podcast side, the updates further support Spotify’s bullishness on video for creators. The platform currently has more than 70,000 video creators, according to Julie McNamara, Spotify’s head of global podcast studios. To encourage more creators to upload video podcasts, the audio giant is opening up its video publishing tools to all podcasters — not just those using Spotify’s Anchor platform. Spotify is also looking to boost listenership for its podcasts by adding an autoplay feature that will automatically play another podcast episode based on a user’s tastes after an episode ends.
But video is largely informing Spotify’s approach to creator deals, as the audio giant said it has inked video podcast deals with YouTube creator Markiplier and TikTok creator Drew Afuolo. With Markiplier, video episodes of his podcasts Distractible and Go! My Favorite Sports Team will be available exclusively on Spotify beginning on Wednesday. Afuolo’s The Comment Section will move exclusively to Spotify beginning on April 5.
Other, more artist-driven features were announced on Wednesday as well: concert listings and artist merchandise will be featured prominently throughout the app, allowing fans to find tickets more readily, and a new ‘Fans First’ program will send emails and push notifications to interested listeners, ensuring they get special access to an artist’s pre-sales and exclusive offerings. “It makes sense to meet them where they are, and your fans are listening to your music on Spotify,” Joe Hadley, Spotify’s global head of artist partnerships and audience, said about the new features.
In an effort to connect artists with their fans more directly, ‘Spotify Clips’ allows artists to upload 30 second, TikTok-esque videos to their artist profiles for behind-the-scenes content of their process, ‘Countdown Pages’ allow fans to ready themselves for a new release. Chloe Bailey, who’s debut solo album In Pieces arrives on March 31, told the audience on Wednesday that “each song on this album stems from my personal experiences…Spotify Clips is a really powerful way for artists to interact with fans, and talk about an unreleased song or a story behind the song.”
The company is also rolling out more tools to promote artists and engage the algorithm in their favor: ‘Marquee’ spotlights new releases, ‘Discovery Mode’ allows artists to identify priority songs they’d like to gain traction, and ‘Showcase’ introduces an artist’s music catalog to users who the data suggests will become likely fans.
Spotify also unveiled its annual music royalties report, Loud & Clear, which tracks the amount of money artists are generating, and details the money the company funnels back into the music industry (nearly 70 percent of every dollar made on the platform).
“We want you to think of Spotify as the sandbox to play to experiment and to create. And as we grow together, we aim to be the best home for you — no matter where you are in your career,” Ek said in closing out the event. “At Spotify, we believe change is the only constant. And that notion is so core to who we are that it’s embedded in our team manifesto. We’ve never been content to sit idly by and wait for others to forge new paths. We want to learn faster than the world around us. And to do this, we’ve dedicated ourselves to relentless innovation. And therein lies my commitments: We’re going to keep building, we’re going to keep improving.”