Spotify Case Study

Venisha Henry: Researcher for Comparative/ Competitive Analysis
Kayla Mendez: Content Strategy for Common Issues with Spotify
Chelsea Davis: Visual Design of personas

The Brief:
Develop a new Spotify feature based on the user’s needs.

Develop a screener and in-person interviews
Synthesize data through affinity mapping
Define most-wanted common issues
Creation of personas
Competitive and Comparative analysis
Design features

Of the twenty-four interns that answered the screener, six were chosen to interview in person. The interviews gave great insight into many of the complications of Spotify.

Discover first that there are three types of people that use Spotify:
The Independent Listener: “I usually trust Spotify’s decision”
The Social Listener: “Who’s going to be on the aux?”
The Do it All Listener: ” “I checked my usage percentage on Spotify the other day: 4 hours on screen, 20 hours in the background”.

Common Issues with Spotify:
With a relatively cluttered interface on the search screen, Spotify’s layout is not the most user-friendly. The interface is lengthy and does not categorize the playlists well. The unorganized interface in combination with features that change location with every update continues to burden the listeners.

The Spotify queue feature is one of the most popular and useful tools of the application, especially because it makes the transition from one song to the next seamless. As users often utilize and enjoy this feature, it can become frustrating when its location is altered with each software update. When using Spotify at social gatherings, users tend to pass around a single device selecting songs to add to the queue. This seems to be how users make the queue collaborative.

It would be helpful to create a collaborative queue that can be used from multiple devices at once, therefore users wouldn’t have to rely on one device to keep the music going.


Comparative/ Competitive Analysis:
Overwhelming Searches
To begin Spotify’s interface is overwhelming upon searching streamers are given 42 options to browse, resulting in members spending more time browse options than actually listening to new music.

To improve the quality of the searching process, Spotify could implement a parametric filter as many shopping applications have.

For example, maybe the streamer is tried of listening to the same curated RnB playlist instead they have the option to use the parametric filter to search for RnB music created between the ’80-’90s that features a repeating rhythmic pattern. A parametric filter would allow the guest to be more control of the specificity of their searches.

Sharing Music is Difficult
Sharing your favorite music with a friend who also has a Spotify account is more difficult than the streamers think it should be. Many of the participants expressed frustration when describing the time it takes to share a song.

To improve this feature Spotify should consider sharing music to account holders within the application. For example, many of the social media companies make sharing memes something that can be done in less than 10 seconds. Consider Apple’s AirDrop feature, AirDrop lets you easily send files to person within a 40-foot range if they too have AirDrop. One participant explained that in his ideal world he would be able to swipe a song into someone’s phone, almost like Apple’s AirDrop.

Improving the Queue
The flexibility of Spotify’s queue is the feature that truly separates them from the competition though there is still room for improvement. Spotify has established a Rule of Thumb: Users should be able to add a song to the queue within 2 clicks. Users need the queue to be easily accessible in order to create a seamless listening experience.

Bringing back the shuffle option. Sometimes users simply want to put the least amount of thought into curating their playlist. This is why the shuffle button is important, it allows the stream to mix up their playlist without having to make the decision of where every song should go.

Youtube’s mobile application is a great example of the maximum flexibility of a queue. Youtube mobile offers the users the option a menu to shuffle, re-order and sort their videos using a parametric filter.


Adding a parametric filter and/or sort feature would allow streamers to find what they are searching for more efficiently. These options would save the user time, and allow for more specific and accurate results.
Give users plenty of options for organizing playlists.
Offer more variations of the discover playlist.
Using the queue, a user should be able to sync their music stream between devices (using a swipe gesture or manually)
Make the queue more visible so that the user can take as little steps as possible.

Features users would like to add:

1. Sync music between devices to play at the same exact time (1-to-1 queue)
“Listening to the same part of a song at the same time, almost like sharing a pair of headphones.”

2. Using the queue to collaborate between multiple people (multi-queue)
-“I’d love to use a collaborative queue at parties instead of passing around the iPad”
-“I would expect to see the user profile or what songs they added to my queue when I click their avatar”
-“Being able to quickly add new users that are nearby from the page with existing connected users would be very convenient”

3. Clear the queue with one click.
-“I wouldn’t want the song I’m listening to disappear”
-“I would expect it to take me back to an empty queue”
-“What if they would recommend songs based on the time of day?”

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