The tech industry is in the midst of a subscription war, with apps constantly vying for our attention and implementing features that mimic those popularised by their rivals.
Now, Spotify has joined the race, unveiling its redesigned app as part of an effort to create a ‘TikTok-style’ user experience. But will this be enough to keep users hooked? Let’s take a look at how Spotify and other tech giants are attempting to capture the attention of users.
Apps and Their Reinventions
In fairness to Spotify, it is by no means alone when it comes to apps trying to reinvent themselves. Instagram has taken its Stories feature from Snapchat, while YouTube has launched Shorts in 2021 – yet another endless vertical feed of snappy clips. TikTok has also joined Facebook in “nicking” the novel “one image a day” approach taken by the upstart app BeReal and labelling it “TikTok Now”.
this is Spotify's new homescreen. It's like a mix of TikTok and Instagram with vertical scrolling for albums, video podcasts, and more. What do you think? https://t.co/euHSez7wYg pic.twitter.com/LwwONEbJIS— Tom Warren (@tomwarren) March 8, 2023
Why a Transformation?
So why are so many apps so desperate to adopt the same features and aesthetic? According to Joshua Bilney, it’s all part of an attempt by tech companies to piggyback on the success of “micro-attention apps”, keeping users hooked by funnelling a huge amount of content past them in a short space of time.
Plus, with the rising calls to ban TikTok over privacy concerns, it may be a smart move for Spotify, Instagram, and YouTube to have the groundwork already in place to mop up some of its user base.
Gustav Soderstrom, co-president of Spotify, has said that today’s world “pulls us in a million different directions”, and with new features popping up all the time it seems tech companies are determined to keep us there.
Oh no. No no no. There’s *zero* need to turn Spotify into a TikTok-like experience. We need a moratorium on whatever the hell is happening to tech CEOs. https://t.co/rypOJ1VTLB— Tony Webster (@webster) March 9, 2023
New Changes to Spotify App
So what has Spotify changed? For one thing, it ditched its ‘flat’ aesthetic in favour of a more vertical format, which will display featured playlists and podcast episodes on the home page. When you open Spotify after the redesign, your home page will be filled with possibilities! Not only could a video podcast autoplay for you, but if you choose to explore new music or audio content, an endless feed of interesting and engaging options awaits. Instead of just seeing rows of recently played tracks and playlists that are familiar to you, this vertical scrolling feature is designed to keep users engaged by introducing them to something fresh.
It’s clear that Spotify, along with other tech giants, are making a concerted effort to increase their user engagement – whether it’s through micro-attention apps like TikTok or the resurrection of the annoying Clippy mascot.
But whether these tactics will be enough to keep users hooked remains to be seen. In the end, it will come down to whether or not these platforms are providing enough value for customers – and if they can capture our attention long enough to make it count.
The subscription war is far from over – and tech companies would be wise to continue innovating in order to stay ahead of the competition. How will Spotify and others rise to the challenge? Only time will tell.