How Apple Music could benefit from Spotfiy’s poor redesign

Yesterday, Spotify announced what it described as its “biggest evolution yet,” with a new TikTok-style Home feed that combines music, podcasts, audiobooks, and more into a single feed. The redesign has drawn quite a bit of criticism from music fans – and it could be a big opportunity for Apple Music. Listen to me…

Spotify’s new design

a quick look at the response Reports on the new Spotify interface show that most users are not very happy with it. The complaint center around Spotify is trying to do “too much at once”, making it harder to find just music and playlists.

This has been a growing problem for Spotify as it has tried to cram more and more into the same app. The company has spent a lot of money on podcasts and audiobooks, and it’s struggling to drive user engagement to justify those investments.

Spotify brand new design

Spotify apparently thought this new design could be a win-win: friendlier to what users actually want, while also driving engagement with non-music offerings like podcasts and audiobooks. Perhaps, unsurprisingly, that is not the case.

An opening for Apple Music

Personally, I play with Spotify, but mainly use Apple Music. I enjoy some of Spotify’s curated playlists, but this redesign sealed the deal for me never to switch back to Spotify full-time. At the same time, though, I hope Apple sees this as an opportunity to improve Apple Music and entice dissatisfied Spotify users to join its service instead.

The redesigned Spotify app sucks, but Apple Music isn’t great. The Apple Music app is stale, laggy, and hard to navigate in many different places. But there’s one thing Apple Music is going for: Apple isn’t trying to do it too many with it.

apple music 2023

With a few minor exceptions, the Apple Music app is focused on music. You won’t find audiobooks and podcasts interfering with the experience. Podcasts are not randomly inserted into your Apple Music playlists. You open the app and are greeted with quick access to your most recent albums, songs and artists.

This is something I want Apple to build on. At a time when Spotify is doing the opposite, Apple should double Apple Music as a music streaming service by:

  • Improving the speed and reliability of the Apple Music app.
  • Making it easier to resurface songs/albums/artists you haven’t listened to in a while.
  • Crossfading support added on iPhone and iPad.
  • Paying artists continue to receive a much higher royalty rate than Spotify.
  • Invest in a “Spotify Connect” style feature for cross-device control (or improve AirPlay).
  • Integration of more social features, such as collaborative playlists.

Dan Moren wrote a great piece for it Macworld last week highlighted several places where Apple can improve the music listening experience. Pretty much everything he mentions in his piece carries even more weight now that Spotify has made it clear that music isn’t the only focus.

At this point, I wonder if music is even Spotify’s main focus, let alone its sole focus. Apple has a chance to show us its commitment to Apple Music, and this could attract some dissatisfied Spotify users to boost its precious service revenue.

Let’s hope this year’s updates to iOS 17 and macOS 14 include some noteworthy Apple Music upgrades.

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