February 12, 2016
This past weekend, while in the car, I saw a new section in Spotify. The section was called “Shows” and inside of that were categories for audio and video shows. There were a ton of clips and what looked liked to be podcasts.
Lately, we have had a trend of unbundling applications such as Facebook with Messenger and Youtube with Youtube Music and Youtube Gaming.
Spotify has always been the leading streaming app for music for me and the people in my circle. Even if I am not a fan of the design and have tried to get people to switch, it has become a dominate force in the game. So much so that one of its main competitors, Rdio, has closed. And even with the rise of Apple Music and its laundry list of flaws.
This could be an interesting spot for Spotify to innovation on the podcast experience. They could have a nice syncing system for the audio shows between desktop and mobile. If they found out a way to share clips between your Spotify contacts that could be an experience that is worth making a change to.
There was a new podcast I was listening to that I want to share just a minute snippet of it to some friends. Having something that like built in and then being able to use the Spotify network could be a powerful thing.
This should be an opt-in experience for the users. I think if they separate the actions. They can iterate off the best of the bunch.
The podcast integration I can understand. Spotify might be aiming to be the one-stop app for audio. I will take that. But this video integration is what is baffling me.
Do I want to watch a Ted Talk on Spotify? I mean a healthy alternative is going to be a good thing for apps like YouTube. But, Spotify just can’t offer the same experience for video as it does in audio in the same app.
I tried to watch a few videos, and a lot of the content was just nothing special. I was also unable to use a Chromecast to cast the video to my TV. I was able to get the audio being played out of the speakers.
I use Pocketcasts for my podcast and of course, I watch most my videos on YouTube and other different video services. The test is whenever theses new services launch. Do they add a new feature that would make you want to change your behavior. So, far Spotify is making me rethink my music service more than change how I can consume podcasts.
I am fearful for the future of Spotify. In theory, I think that having podcasts makes a lot of sense. Even Google Music announced podcast support. I think a lot of work needs to be done on that end to make it a better experience. Spotify won’t be used for anything more than an occasional quick listen of an episode. I think anyone that’s more of a power user, with a lot of subscriptions, will stay with their existing app.
The thing with an app like Spotify is the use cases I have for it. I need that app to be fast. It already takes me two clicks to get into a search.
If they are going to be added in other verticals, they should start to look at their app and start changing the user experience.
Written by John Siwicki who lives and works building interesting things. You should follow him on Twitter