Spotify has reinvented how we discover music. And now has a leader of the music streaming industry, it wants to stay that way. For this reason, they want to improve engagement and retention in the app.
Spotify has failed twice at making their app social. They tried with the friends activity feed as well as trying out a messaging feature within the app which they later took away. The challenge here is to build a feature that will bring social value to users while following the business retention goals.
When I was a teenager (in the early 2000s) music was the center of our social lives. We would borrow each-other CDs, make our own playlist and give it to our favorite friends or perhaps future lover. Music was what built our relationships, our crowd.
For this project, following a user research, I’ve worked on adding a recommendation feature that generates a weekly playlist from your friends just like in the old days.
The first step I took was to conduct a survey with current Spotify users. From the 47 answers I've collected, 70% of them were mobile users, and 87% were paying users (premium).
Directly within the same survey, I've started recruiting people for potential 1:1 video interviews. 5 users in total were interviewed.
What I discovered during the user research is that some common themes were coming back:
- Users found discover weekly algorithm is not as accurate as they would like.
- They share music with their friends using Facebook messenger.
- Not interested by the current social feature on Desktop, allowing you to see what your friends are listening right now.
- Users are interested in friends that would have similarities with their taste and be able to interact directly with friends they know have great knowledge in artist they know they’ll like.
- Users are interested in what friends could recommend them, but don’t want to have to go in each profiles individually to see what they should listen to.
Looking back at all the answers and discussions I had, I came up with 2 personas representing the pattern I’ve seen in the users of Spotify. People who are wanting to be social on Spotify usually look for inspiration from what their friends are liking or want to be able to share with friends what they think they would like. Algorithms are great, but it’s not personal enough.
Defining the experience
Questions to consider
- How might we make it easier to browse through friends recommendations?
- How might we find new ways to discover music?
- How might we enable users to recommend songs to their friends / followers?
- How might we make recommendations more personal?
I’ve started to explore the idea by sketching some screens so I could visualise what a user flow would be like. Building a friends weekly feature could help the user discover what their friends are listening to without requiring them to go in each profiles, it also enables the listeners to find similarities with their friends.
Integrating the original UX
Users are encouraged to follow others and share which song they’ve listen to that they think others should discover.
Designing the new friends weekly discovery flow
The friends weekly works according to what your friends are recommending you. You are able to recommend a song to all your followers or to specific friends only. Once you recommended the song, it would be added automatically to the friends weekly playlist of your followers or friend.
In order to do usability testing, I've created a prototype using Marvel.
This project was definitely one of my favorite one. I loved to work with an existing brand and discovering how we could make their product better. Chatting with users who know the product and are excited about it was very motivating. If I would have had more time, I would have like to look further on how to integrate a notification flow and explore the friends music match rate a bit further.