Spotify - Things to Improve


I'm a huge fan of Spotify and have been using the Premium feature quite regularly since December 2014. The reason why I chose Spotify over other available services during that time were

  1. Amazing sound quality
  2. Vast expanse of genres
  3. More recently, curated playlists for the different moods
  4. Really good UX
  5. Hassle free updates to the software - just restart the process
  6. Availability on multiple platforms - Android, Mac, Linux etc.

That said, I'd probably say Spotify is the best music streaming service that's out there. I did pit it against YouTube Red during the last few weeks and found Spotify to be simpler and easier to use. Of course I haven't tried Apple Music and don't have any comparisons with that and I don't have the intention to buy an iPhone anytime soon. The reason I wanted to try out YouTube Red was for the numerous Carnatic concerts that have been recently uploaded to YouTube. YouTube Red offers offline playing by downloading the video to your device and additionally also supports background playing even when the app is not in the foreground. Quality of the songs mostly depends on the recording but I didn't feel anything was badly amiss.

However, the fact that you cannot really curate your saved videos in terms of playlists was a huge bummer with YouTube Red! The companion app - YT Music doesn't support offline playing and saved videos don't resume from where they were left off. These are minor details but imagine rummaging through your phone trying to play the song of your choice, seeking to the right position in the middle of driving your car. Insane and dangerous!

That prompted me back to Spotify again. Even if it doesn't have recent Carnatic concerts or the like, the experience of using the app has always been Spotify's forte. However, using it for a few minutes, I came to relive some of the pain points that I've been having with the service which I want to pen down here.

  • Search is really bad! For example, if I want to search for songs that are in the Raga Behag, one would try searching with the string - "Behag" only to find a bunch of songs with the string "behagt" in them. Of course the actual songs in Behag are available but are interspersed within all the other results and is a hassle to find. Trying the same search with quotes doesn't seem to help either!

    ![Image of Spotify] (/img/spotify.png)

  • Which brings me to the next issue. Songs in certain genres like Carnatic need some kind of user tagging. For example, if there's a given song that has been composed by a renowned composer or is set in a specific Raga, this information is usually not encoded in the song's title which makes it pretty hard for users to find all the songs that belong to a specific Raga. Allowing user tagging (with some policies) and allowing to search songs based on these tags could be of immense use as it would actually help in more time spent on listening than searching.

  • The next issue with finding new songs in a specific language. I listen to songs from various regional Indian languages and searching for new albums in these languages is again a pain unless there's a playlist that you can subscribe to or you already follow the composer/artist. With the influx of new burgeoning composers in the field of Indian Music these days, it's hard to find new content based on language. I usually resort to looking at other websites like Saavn to identify the most recent tunes in a specific language and then search for it on Spotify and add it to the playlist.

Of course, these quips of mine are very narrow to a specific use case but I hope I could these get resolved for a better listening experience on Spotify!