The battle to win your ears is upon us. Music streaming has turned into a highly competitive business, but Spotify jumped to an early lead and has retained its place at the mantle ever since. Its competition includes:

  • Pandora
  • Tidal
  • Apple Music (Yes, that Apple)
Pandora relies on mostly an advertising-supported service where its proprietary algorithm plays songs similar to a selected artist, song or genre.
Tidal offers a tiered subscription-based platform that houses a large music library and claims to pay artists better than other services. Tidal also pioneered the exclusive release, where an album is released solely on the platform for a limited period of time before being widely released.
Apple Music has a similar platform to Tidal but has a slew of radio mixes by high-profile musicians and DJ’s. Plus, Apple is already the leading podcast platform and houses essentially every podcast out there.
So, what separates Spotify from the pack?

What Makes Spotify King?

Variety

Spotify offers everything that all of its competitors have. Their bread and butter is a library of millions of songs and a massive number of playlists created by users and Spotify’s editorial team.
On top of that, users can access podcasts, video content and Pandora-like radio stations.
Basically, Spotify has turned themselves into a one-stop shop for all of your music streaming wants and needs.

Discovery Through Data

Spotify has truly separated themselves through leveraging data for personalizing the experience of listening to and discovering music.
From its machine-learning and data sifting technology, Spotify analyzes your listening habits and builds out customized recommendations, such as playlists and music suggestions based on the genres and artists you’re listening to regularly.
This is most exemplified, however, through the immensely popular Discover Weekly playlist. This playlist is refreshed every Monday with 30 new songs you’ve most likely never heard of but will probably love because they are chosen based on your most recent listening habits. For example, if October by PRXZM, a song with less than 1,000 views on YouTube, appears on your Discover Weekly playlist, Spotify’s technology has deemed this song a worthy candidate for your potential discovery because you were frequently listening to mellow electronic music. 
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Spotify doubled down on the Discover Weekly technology with Release Radar, which is refreshed every Friday. Release Radar recommends songs based on your most recent listening habits as well but emphasizes new songs released within the past week.
If you’re looking for a more expansive offering, there is a whole Discover tab that aggregates a slew of artists that you’d possibly like based on your popular listening choices.
This data is even used to give you monthly and yearly reports based on what you were listening in that time frame. It’s not a huge selling point, but a small added value never hurts!

Collaboration

Playlists make up a significant part of the Spotify user experience, and users pick that up as soon as they start using the service. While it’s great to sift through all of these playlists and even build your own, Spotify has sharing capabilities that make playlists social as well.
If you create a playlist, you can invite friends to be creators, which lets everyone included add songs to the playlist. This makes for a more shared experience with the platform, which is how music is generally best enjoyed.
All in all, Spotify has a ton of features and capabilities to offer its users to keep the user experience constantly fresh and interesting. Its expansiveness, advanced technology and shareability are big factors as to why it has 100 million monthly active users.

Spotify by Andrew Mager is licensed under Attribution-ShareAlike License

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