Putting Humans Back Into the Algorithm

Summary | For the D&AD New Blood Awards 2021, Spotify asked us to get listeners to soundtrack and share their life through Spotify by creating a digital feature. We created Spotify Snippets—a feed of audio stories that empowers users to discover more new audio content than ever before, because it’s not only Spotify recommending it anymore. It’s being recommended to them by their friends and artists they follow. 

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What I did:

Primary Research

Secondary Research

Design Brief

Creative Support

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THE SPOTIFY D&AD BRIEF
Get listeners to soundtrack and share their life through Spotify.

Create a feature within Spotify that helps people easily share their content and get people talking about it on their social feeds. See the full brief here. 

BACKGROUND
Spotify has a fire lit under them.

Spotify was launched in 2008 in Sweden and is now the leading music streaming platform globally for its easy UX and new music recommendation abilities. They continuously test new features and have acquired multiple companies to continue to provide the best listening experience. They have a ton of legacy (Apple Music) and new (Musi) competitors that are eager to pull their users, so innovation is critical to maintain the largest user share. In fact, they have been criticized by their shareholders for spending too much on growth and not turning a profit.
 

OUR TARGET
The playlist generation. 

They’re the ones leading the way with playlist curation based on moods and events, and influencing their others on social. Data shows that, compared to all other age groups, new music knowledge is social currency for these Gen Zers and Millennials. They’re also more willing to take new music recommendations from their peers and technology.
Source: Mintel, NYT, IBISWorld

 

“I like pre-curated playlists but making my own makes me feel like I’m a curator and have some sort of personalized experience.”

- Cat Marsh, Playlist Curator

RESEARCH 
Digging into the company, competitors, culture, and consumer. 

I dove into Spotify's history, the competitive landscape, conducted target interviews, and followed popular playlist iinfluencers on places like TikTok, Reddit, and Instagram, asking questions like...

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REALIZATION
Friends are the original music listening algorithm.

A social feature within Spotify can be a natural inclusion without compromising the listening experience because the listening experience has always been social. 

PROBLEM 
Since these curators are not able to connect about music in Spotify, they do it elsewhere. 

Connecting instead on Discord, Twitch, TikTok, etc., leaving room for competitors to entice them over to different music listening platforms.

DESIGN STRATEGY  
Be the first social listening experience.

Bring the audio sharing features that users love into the platform, without compromising Spotify's premier listening and discovery experience. 

CREATIVE SOLUTION
Spotify Snippets

Snippets is a feed of audio stories that empowers users to discover more new audio content than ever before, because it’s not only Spotify recommending it anymore. It’s being recommended to them by their friends and artists they follow. Try the prototype yourself here. 

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Team Amanda Thao (XD), Madeline Guzzo (AD), Kate Power (CW)