By David Cifarelli:
On April 24th at 9am in New York City, top music-streaming platform Spotify held a release event introducing updates to their mobile application. The Stockholm-based company announced new features and a wider streaming service. This marks the largest change to the music-streaming platform since 2014 and the first since the company went public. (Read about the expectations before the release)
Spotify’s Chief Research and Development Officer, Gustav Soderstrom, spoke at the start of the event. He discussed three factors that have brought Spotify success: ubiquity, personalization and “freemium” – with the last being the most important. With more than 90 million of Spotify’s users being free subscribers, Soderstrom recognizes the importance Spotify holds towards providing good quality, free service to its customers. “Over the last several years, we’ve made Spotify’s premium mobile experience top-notch,” Soderstrom said, “Spotify is both the radio station and the record store.” Now Spotify is hoping to capitalize on their previous success with the launch of these new updates.
(Source: The Verge.com)
For the past three years, Spotify experienced consistently increased sales. The company generated nearly 90 percent of its 4.09 billion Euro profit in 2017 according to an article published in the Bloomberg Report. In addition, Spotify had 157 million users at the end of 2017, with 71 million being paid subscribers. Spotify is expected to surpass 200 million listeners and 96 million paid subscribers in 2018.
In recent years the company became aware that monthly subscribers have been prioritized over free listeners. Soderstrom directly addressed this issue when he stated that the media platform “has stayed exactly the same since 2014.” Being that 60 percent of the paid users start out as free subscribers, Spotify hopes to keep these listeners satisfied and not feeling like second-class listeners, as stated in an article released by TheVerge.com. However the need for paid subscribers is crucial for the satisfaction of Spotify’s investors.
The launch of these new changes to the application could get Spotify more paying subscribers as well as spread the word about the reoccurring changes made to free music applications. In a survey concerning music streaming platforms and their services, only 50 percent of participants felt as though music companies constantly update their platforms. Only 11.5 percent of survey takers knew about the recent changes to the Spotify’s services. However, 96.2 percent of participants said these services are easy to use and Spotify wants to make them even easier. (Take the survey here)
The first of the changes to the application gives free listeners access to fifteen new “select” playlists. Listeners can choose a song within these playlists and continue through it without shuffling. This directly addresses the problem Soderstrom pointed out when he stated, “discovering music in shuffle mode is a tricky proposition.”
Not only are these playlists generated based on listeners’ music preferences, they are also updated daily. A combined total of 750 songs make up this selection. Spotify staple playlists, such as Discover Weekly, Release Radar and Daily Mixes, are included with these options.
(Source: The Verge.com)
76.9 percent of listeners use Spotify at least once a day and most report being satisfied with its services. Eva Hogan is a frequent Spotify user and says that the company is always making updates to its mobile application. This is apparent to the Assumption College junior through her use of the Discover Weekly playlist option.
“Spotify gives me a Discover Weekly playlist every week that is tailored to what I have been listening to daily,” says Hogan, “It is a personalized playlist based on my own music tastes.” In addition listeners tend to use music streaming platforms because of their cost-effectiveness. Hogan’s favorite feature of the Spotify application is that she can “save whatever songs I want free of charge.”
The company reports that its listeners have already created over two billion playlists. Another new feature on the application offers song suggestions under recently searched tracks. When a user types in a search for a new song, suggestions that are similar to their previously searched song will appear. This update will help listeners create more playlists. This update also reaffirms Spotify’s focus of catering to listeners’ musical preferences.
(Source: The Verge.com)
Another addition to the application comes when free listeners immediately sign up. As soon as they get the application, listeners will be asked their favorite artists. This ensures that listeners will be catered to their needs from the instant they start using the application. Already, 84.6 percent of survey participants feel Spotify caters to their musical tastes. It appears that this feature can increase this statistic even more.
84 percent of listeners reportedly prefer Spotify to other streaming services including Pandora, Apple Music and Amazon Music. Thomas Angell, on the contrary, does not have a Spotify account. The Assumption College sophomore uses Apple Music. When asked if he would consider switching to Spotify music, Angell replied, “Yeah probably…the curated playlists on Apple Music are lame. I would get a lot more if I switched to Spotify.”
The reason Angell has not switched is because he feels Apple Music is the easier alternative. However after discussing the latest updates to the Spotify application, Angell seemed more interested. “I think that would push me to switch more,” Angell commented on learning about Spotify’s new 15 “select” playlists, “If I switch I would probably check it out.” He continued by saying, “Apple is easier to use but I like Spotify’s playlists better. With Spotify you can kind of just run into stuff. With Apple Music you have to go out of your way to find more.”
A majority of survey participants said they use music-streaming services while they exercise. Haley McCormick, an Assumption College junior, is a free music subscriber to Spotify. Using Spotify at least once a week, McCormick would consider switching to Spotify Premium. “It would be good for if I wanted to work out,” she stated, “instead of downloading songs, but because I don’t work out much I don’t feel the need to download it”
This seems to reinforce Spotify’s desire to gain more paid subscribers. If the company continues to offer free services, subscribers are more likely to purchase a Premium plan afterwards.
In the past Spotify faced multiple requests to remove their free services. Record labels have repeatedly asked the music platform to limit its free services. They were able to negotiate for the delayed release of artists’ work but Spotify refuses to give up its free services unless it was given a large investment.
According to the survey only 18.8 percent of participants think the Spotify application has improved. This shows that Spotify has to possibly make more changes to its platform in order for it to stay atop the free music streaming industry. This might push Spotify to make more continuous changes in the future. As for now sit back and enjoy the latest offerings the company has provided for its free and paid subscribers.