This happened a week ago. Per TechCrunch:
Spotify has given its app a big makeover, with a focus on making the experience better for its paying subscribers. The company has simplified the app’s navigation by reducing the numbers of buttons and has revamped its Search page, which now incorporates elements previously found in “Browse,” like favorite genres or music to match a mood. And it’s given its Radio service a redesign as well, with the addition of new and easy-to-use Artist Radio Playlists.
The most immediately noticeable change is the app’s navigation.
Spotify has always felt a bit cluttered, with its five navigation buttons – Home, Browse, Search, Radio and My Library. The new app has chopped this down to just three buttons – Home, Search, and My Library.
Also of note for us, it’s a *little* easier to spot and get to the podcast library on the Search tab:
I’m not sure if this is a minority opinion nowadays, but I remain very much on “Spotify-could-still-be-big-for-podcast-consumption” island. I might still be holding out on actually buying beach-front property here, but I’m here nonetheless.
For what it’s worth, I don’t think all that much about its windowing partnerships, its various original podcasts — which now includes a new Guy Raz*-hosted music interview podcast — or its celebrity deals (particularly the one with Amy Schumer, which continues to look more frustrating in hindsight, though I see the value of the Joe Budden one, despite the forced use of the word “exclusive”). For one reason or another, those three strategic prongs never truly made sense to me within the context of how I see the value propositions of that company.
* How does that dude have all that energy? Good lord. “Producers,” Brendan Francis Newnam replied over Twitter. Sure, of course, but I can barely sound interested in anything for more than five minutes, let alone for four simultaneously-running audio productions. Holy shit.
What I continue to think quite highly of is the potential of all those Spotify users — particularly the premium subscribers, which currently numbers around 83 million — learning about and trying out podcasts on the platform, and for whom Spotify might become their default podcast listening app, should they end up being converted. That fundamental value proposition has never really changed, even as the platform dove into its adventures with original programming, and even this hasn’t actually worked out for publishers just yet. (At least, that’s what I’ve been hearing. And yeah yeah, I know anecdotal information is just anecdotal information, but it’s still somebody’s experience.)
That’s probably why I see Spotify opening up its podcast submission process to all earlier this month as far more significant than everything else it’s done in this space. There are still questions to be asked, of course, including:
- Can they elevate the profile of its spoken audio offerings up to be on par with its music offerings in the eyes and ears of its core users?
- Will they be able to bypass the frictions of charting, curation, and promotion politics that Apple Podcasts faces?
- Will they end up replicating the market forces they helped impose onto the music industry in the podcast industry? (Probably, should everything go according to plan.)
- What about monetization?
Cart before horse, et cetera et cetera. My eyes continue to watch closely.