The battle to win your ears is upon us. Mobile music streaming applications has turned into a highly competitive business, but Spotify jumped to an early lead and has retained its place at the mantle ever since the year of 2008. Starting off as an independent Swedish music streaming platform, Spotify was one of the first of its kind to offer users access to a large catalogue of music in just a few clicks – granted that at this time, premium users had to be invited to the service in order to use it.

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Year after year, Spotify has been able to improve its mobile app design, usability, streaming quality and music sharing capabilities, which has ultimately helped make it the music platform we all know and love today. Inevitably, due to the platform revolutionising the way we consume music nowadays and gaining global success, competition has risen from other industry-leading mobile technology companies. Spotify’s competition includes:

Tidal offers a tiered subscription-based mobile app development platform that houses a large music library and claims to pay artists better than all other music streaming 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. The platform offers one of the largest catalogues of music (over 50 million!) and is perfectly integrated into Apple’s iOS ecosystem.

Google Play Music/YouTube Music have recently merged into one, as Google owns YouTube and the platform already has millions of dedicated users. YouTube Music has essentially any song ever created, thanks to 30million official songs, and then the endless uploads from unique users around the world. The streaming service integrates perfectly into both the mobile app design and flow of YouTube, so you know exactly what product you’re using.

But, with all of this competition pressuring them, what makes Spotify King?

Variation

Spotify offers everything that all of its music mobile app competitors have and more. Their bread and butter is a library of millions of songs (over 40 million) and a massive number of playlists created by both mobile app users and Spotify’s own algorithm system. It’s here that you’ll find a series of musical content, video content, artist specially-created content and their most notable investment into the Podcast industry. After spending nearly £200million in investments to the Podcast industry, the platform is looking to become the one-stop-shop for all things music. 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 personal mobile app data for personalising the overall user experience of listening to and discovering new music. From its mobile machine-learning, artificial intelligence and data sifting technology, Spotify analyses your listening habits and builds out customised 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 Old Town Road by Lil’ Nas X, a song with more than 100million 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 popular and successful music, and the same can be said for lesser-known songs/artists that you weren’t previously aware of. 

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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 emphasises 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 to in that time frame, with an end of year ‘Wrapped’ playlist made just for you. It’s not a huge selling point, but a small added value never hurts!

Collaboration

Playlists make up a significant part of the Spotify mobile app design and mobile user experience, and users pick that up as soon as they start using the service. While it’s a great way 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 mobile application, which is how music is generally best enjoyed.

All in all, Spotify has a ton of mobile application features and capabilities to offer its users to keep the mobile app design and experience constantly fresh and interesting. Its expansiveness, advanced technology and shareability are big factors as to why it has over 100 million monthly active users.

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Simon Lee

Simon Lee

Founder and CEO

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