July 31, 2022
August 8, 2023
“Hello friends, it’s mommy…” How I dread these words when they arrive in my Spotify auto-rotation. As I'm in the zone with A Tribe Called Quest or the Prof G Pod, The Spotify algorithm determines it’s a good time for some "Storytime with Philip and Mommy".
What is Storytime with Philip and Mommy? It's a show where a really nice mom reads children's stories with her son Philip - perfect for my 7-year-old daughter to listen to as she falls asleep. However, I don't understand why I am being recommended this show every time I use Spotify. This misunderstanding of my listening agenda must come to an end.
I tried signing up for Spotify Duo/Family. BUT, the app doesn't allow toggling between accounts. Duo is intended for multiple people, with multiple devices, to have individual experiences under one paid account. It makes sense that Spotify would want to mitigate account sharing. However, this seems like a perfect opportunity for Spotify to personalize in a more meaningful way than analyzing listening patterns and ignoring them with recommendations that would never make it into the user's rotation.
Now, props to Spotify - they have more than 210 million subscribers as of Q1 2023 worldwide. For context, Apple Music has just 88 million, and Amazon Music has about 82 million. Spotify is far and away the subscriber lead - even beating Netflix which currently holds 238 million paying subscribers.
But, this problem should be solved in order to stay half a billion strong. It's a simple fix really - Spotify needs modes. Modes for when users play music for themselves, for their children, for sleeping, etc. These modes should be set to either use or not use data like listening history et al. If a user sets up a mode for sleeping, for instance, they should have the ability to "hide" this mode from manipulating algorithmic preferences.
After much trial and error, I did discover the ability to ask Spotify not to add specific playlists to my preferences, but this seems limited to playlists only. It still doesn't solve the greater issue of the algorithm abuse we're being subjected to.
Some of us parents want to keep our kids off screens as long as we can. So how can we leverage the bountiful audio options we pay for so our kids will fall asleep? Modes.
Spotify, please let's get on this in the next feature planning session. I don't want a repeat of my annual roundup from '22 showcasing my abundant love of Philip & Mommy. I don't need all bangers all the time, but I do hope for accurate audio representation. I shouldn't be punished for having a kid with a different musical palette.
By the way, Matic Digital has worked with global brands solving some of the most wicked user experience problems for years. I would love to work with you on making the Spotify user experience as incredible as the service itself. You can reach me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org.