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March 19, 2023

Spotify redesigns app with vertical video feed similar to TikTok

The music streaming platform also announced other new features, like AI-generated DJs and personalized recommendations via 'Smart Shuffle'

Technology Music
spotify app redesign Garley Gibson/Pexels

Spotify has unveiled its most extensive app redesign ever, with a new vertical video feed on its home page that allows users to scroll through music, podcast, and audiobook previews.

Users listening to music on Spotify app can expect some major changes in the coming weeks.

Spotify unveiled its biggest app redesign since the platform debuted over a decade ago, which includes a vertical video feed on its home page that allows users to scroll through music, podcast, and audiobook previews. The brand new, interactive mobile interface began rolling out to users worldwide last week.

During Spotify's Stream On event Wednesday to showcase the app's new tools and programming, the company revealed its redesign. According to the music streamer, the features are meant to forge connections between artists and listeners while giving users a more active role in discovering new music.

“The world today pulls us in a million different directions,” Co-President and Chief Product & Technology Officer Gustav Söderström said. “So the most important thing we, at Spotify, can do for creators is to reduce the distance between their art and the people who love it ... or who would love it as soon as they discovered it.” 

On Spotify's new vertically-oriented home page, users can tap to explore feeds devoted to music, audiobooks, podcasts and shows. 

Each feed allows listeners to scroll through personalized visual and audio previews of playlists, albums, podcast episodes and audiobooks. Just tap to save or share, and head to the artist or podcast pages or continue listening beyond the preview. There will also be similar discovery feeds when using the search function.

Users will still have shortcuts to their favorites and recently played items at the top of the feed.

The redesign also introduces personalized DJs, an AI guide available to Spotify Premium users in the U.S. and Canada that chooses what to play for users based on their musical tastes. Smart Shuffle, which offers custom recommendations based on the vibes of the user's original playlists, also is being rolled out.

If the video feed seems reminiscent of Instagram Reels or the TikTok For You Page, that's intentional. TikTok's parent company ByteDance Ltd. has revealed that it wants to grow its music-streaming service globally, the Wall Street Journal reported. Spotify Chief Executive Daniel Ek recently called ByteDance a formidable competitor.

A major difference in the video feed, though, is that Spotify's aims to have listeners briefly scroll through previews before choosing what to listen to, whereas TikTok and Instagram hope to keep users engaged in endless scrolling.

With the new features, Spotify is also attempting to set itself apart from its well-funded music streaming competitors, like Apple, Amazon and Google. While Spotify has reported strong user growth, it is looking to cut costs after a period of intense spending that has left the company with another quarterly loss.

Spotify is the latest to unveil features and redesigns that seem to be copycats of other apps. Instagram and Twitter have also recently launched features mimicking other platforms in attempts to stay relevant among newer apps skyrocketing in popularity with Gen Z, like TikTok and BeReal.

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