Hear hear! Spotify's UI/ux choices have frustrated me more and more over the years. Do any of their employees use their clients? Why is artist not a column that I can sort. Why such terrible uses of space? What happened to the social features? I'm not on any social platforms but it'd be fun to easily see, share, comment on friends' playlists.Reply
The truncated text is a huge peeve of mine with designers. I get that it’s hard to design a nice grid if you have to account for text that wrapped etc, but not everyone is called Tom Smith, and not all titles are 20 characters long.
A designer I know advocated that users should be coaxed into using shorter titles and descriptions so that the UI looks good. It just makes me seethe.Reply
But if podcast art and beautiful-looking UIs aren't the most important things, then what will we do with all the UX people?Reply
I use Winamp for my MP3 collection that I downloaded of my T1 line at the office.
When I turn that mother up on and my CRT monitor starts smoking because of the Winamp addons that spikes all kinds of shit whenever the tune is changing, then I know I have found the right track.
Then I get cracking on the floor. Break dancing and caps flying around. The neighbors come jumping in the door and starts clapping and the music just keeps going.
Everybody can understand a list of songs, even my grandma who's pushing 84. So we battle out songs on each of ours computers, but we don't use Spotify any more.Reply
I refused to use Spotify from early on because it is so anti-album. The interface just sucks for playing albums, and its ridiculous that they haven't fixed it. Playlists are fine for parties or when you want to discover new music, but if you are doing more focused listening albums are the way to go.
I use Apple Music for streaming / high quality downloads while on the go or airplaying around the house, and Roon (https://roonlabs.com) for dedicated in-home album listening. Its definitely a more expensive combo than Spotify, but worth it.Reply
IMO the Spotify Android UI is OK for the most part.
That said, Spotify could improve the UX.
For one thing, recommendations are fine but how about reduce the amount of lists. Let the user click something if they want recommendations based on feeling or genre or "more like x", etc.
To illustrate the previous point, when I open the app, there are these lists:
Why is my New releases near the bottom? Why do I even have a "Musiken att ha koll på" with some pop songs I couldn't care less about -- and besides, why is the title in Swedish though the app is in English? Why are there like 7 genre suggestions?Reply
Your top mixes Made for Recently played More like x Your shows Genre/feeling recommendation Musiken att ha koll på Genre recommendation For today's drive (but WHY?) More like y More of what you like Genre recommendation Genre recommendation Genre recommendation Discover something new New releases for you Discover i Discover j, Genre again, Genre.
I hate the modern designs like this in apps or websites.Reply
Because even though you pay for the subscription, they are still getting paid to promote artists, albums, and tracks while also trying to keep you on the platform for more time by offering playlists made by themselves (more opportunity to promote) or other users.Reply
What I hate most about Spotify is: after meticulously adding songs to a queue, accidentally tapping a song near the end of the queue just to see the entire queue being cleared up to that song.
It’s just mind-boggling and creates some sort of anxiety during using the app.Reply
Ended up canceling my Spotify, in part because of how bad the UX is.Reply
No because Spotify needs to turn its music catalog listeners into (proprietary) podcast listeners. Possibly proprietary playlists/recommendation radio streams as well. Same reason why Netflix pushes originals over licensed content.
It's incredibly annoying but haven't yet heard a compelling reason to switch to apple music.Reply
Anytime someone mentions a table of songs it makes me miss Rdio even more. Their UI was almost perfect for how I listened to music.Reply
I feel like I have such a disconnect from most others with these services.
I tried out Pandora one night when it first came out while I was in college in 2004/2005. Then it was “someone made an algorithm that can pick music for you!” After about 15 minutes I lost interest “Hm that’s neat, I’m good though I know what I like”
Fast forward 17 years and you have these multibillion dollar companies everyone loves and hates, controversies. I never saw the appeal in the first place.Reply
I so fucking agree. That 5 songs only for each damn artist, that makes you browse through albums... What an outrage! I just gave up and don't use the app anymore. So frustrating.Reply
It's easy to find bad UX in the industry, and I think that the reason is that it doesn't have to be good. It's hardly ever the differentiator that makes a difference when you choose to subscribe or not. The same could be said about the UX of Google services, etc. Capital flows to acquiring new subscribers and, grudgingly, to retaining old ones.Reply
I’ve developed such a inadvertent hatred for Spotify because of their app.Reply
Dear Spotify, please do not go back to 2001. Thanks.
On a serious note. If all you do is high intent searches (I know exactly the one song/podcast I want), Spotify is not for you. Spotify is about discovery. Stick to iTunes or Winamp or Kazaa or Youtube or anything else that just gives you a list of things. Don't make the product worse because you're using it for something it's not designed around.Reply
I think one reason companies have been doing this lately is because a surprisingly large population of computer users are only semi-literate (low education or just children). So if you’re doing UX Research you’ll actually notice this more visual, non-textual UI does “better” in a lot of metricsReply
I think the inconsistent mess of Spotify is what most people actually want, because back in the day I remember constantly hearing from people how much they hated iTunes. This Neil fellow and myself are the ones with the weird taste in software, not the UX experts behind Spotify.Reply
Amazon's Kindle app is an even bigger offender in this category. It shows your library as a 4 x 4 grid of tiny cover thumbnail on your phone, so there is no hope whatsoever of reading a title.
So you click one, and what does it do? It downloads the whole book then drops you in at whatever page you last read, then hides the book title and author.
Unless you can recognize the cover photo (which changes to match the latest edition), there is really no way to know what you're going to get except to guess.Reply
Or in my case, dear spotify, I don't care about the damn podcasts, never was, never will, don't fckign show me them. I don't care.Reply
optimized for brain-washing and diminished/diminishing agencyReply
If I had to guess, Spotify is optimizing for engagement and listening hours, not searchability.Reply
OMGEEEE +1000 for the OPReply
Dear spotify user, can you just delete your accountReply
Foobar2000 was hands down the best time for music in the pc eraReply
Emacs has a plug-in.
Slightly off topic but.. couldn’t resistReply
Fire their UX team and hire this guy and consult with NNG, their visual design language is so unusable, small tiny cryptic icons and hidden gestures be damned. Why do we consumers put up with this bullshit design? The cover art search pattern for podcasts literally makes it impossible to search when I’m on the go, it bothers me so much.
I miss the days of Apple Human Interface Design Guidelines that were actually based off scientific principles of human visual perception.Reply
Netflix and Amazon are terrible. Want to continue what you were watching? Gonna have to find where we hid that this time, g’luck!Reply
The entire UX is clunky, how does this even happen?Reply
At the same time I met a five year old who'd show me how they is finding their favorite songs on Spotify, even though they can't read yet. I feel like "I need my plain text interface back, yesterday"-folks maybe don't consider how many different people are actually using these apps.Reply
The article says "If there is a piece of information about a podcast that is the least useful, that would be the cover art."
I think that's not true. Cover art / album art allows you to visually scan through a pile of different podcasts to find the one podcast you're looking for. E.g. "I know it's mostly purple with a little white, so now I'm scanning for purple… there it is." You can find the one you want even if the art is tiny and you can see 100 at a time.
Let's not allow the lesson to be "text is better, don't display cover art". Instead, let's allow the lesson to be "let me make the software work the way my brain does." It's not that Spotify has made a terrible decision, necessarily. It's just that their UI isn't optimized for a non-visual person, or a person who prefers text to images.
What if software had far more customizable UI, such that I can make the software display the information to me in the way that makes the most sense to me? Harder to test, for sure, but if they made it a paid feature (meaning only for paying users) it might pay for itself.Reply
Spotify used to be absolutely amazing, it really was!! It was my go to platform... Now it's just embarrassingly BAD and essentially unusable unless you're paying for itReply
I mostly quit listening to Joe Rogan's podcast after it left YouTube. I'd watch when he had an interesting guest that showed up in my recommendations. A while back a co-worker told me about a recent episode I should check out. Reluctantly, I went to Spotify to check it out. It took me a good 20 minute, and a lot of just scrolling through page after page of podcasts, until I actually found it. You'd think after spending $50M on the guy they wouldn't make it so hard to find. The search and navigation was horrendous. I listened to maybe 20 minutes of the podcast, quit to go do something else, and never went back.
I don't particularly like what Apple Music has become, when compared to the iTunes from the music-only era, but it's still dramatically better than Spotify.Reply
I've recently started using Spotify premium again. I'm amazed at the crappy ui. Often go back to radioparadise.com to not have to deal with it.Reply
I actually hate this thing Spotify does. Before they had a way to sorting songs by playcount and it made it easy to find songs youd instantly like.
To increase cross sell with underrepresented artists or whatever the strategy is with this UI its quite a detriment when looking for songs you want.
If i wanted to discover artists id like to be able to do that myself, not have it be imposed on my search because of the way the designer thought it up, to increase cross sell to things i had no intention of listening to.
It's almost like a paid version of spam.Reply
There is a great website someone put up called “sort my music” and also “organize your music”. If you google those terms they are the first and second result.
It will allow you to sort Spotify playlists by a number of hidden variables like BPM and year of release. You can also export/copy paste the tables that it generates in the process.
Not perfect and might not fit your exact use case, but wanted to let HN know.Reply
I think it says a lot when people hate Spotify this much and then feel like they have to use it. There are comments here about buildling your an entire new interface to Spotify. At that point, shouldn't you just...not use Spotify? What would Spotify have to do to you to get you to not use it, sneak into your house at night and do something to the family pet?Reply
Agree to this. I recently wanted to see a list of songs of one artist. I could not find it..Reply
Ah, foobar2000 - had such fun with that app back in the day!Reply
This kind of "discovery" UI sucks. You see it everywhere now. A/B testing, out of touch design teams and algorithms have overtaken basic common sense.
Spotify has many teams working on the UI of their app, could be 100+ people, perhaps even hundreds. Isn't that absurd when the UI of any classic music/media player is superior?Reply
We live in an age of poor design. Advertisement and dark patterns run rampant and reduce the functionality and usability of our software all the time.
That being said Spotify still somehow stands out as a case study in how not to design an interface. What's worse is that the mobile apps are specifically designed with electron under the assumption that it will make cross platform development easy...but it breaks on every device in different ways.
It's sad because I hate having to maintain a large music catalog manually but no music service really provides an adaquite solution to this and the system with the most extensive library is sadly...the worst platform for it. I hope they get better but I've been hoping that for years at this point.Reply
I am glad I am not alone hating these kind of user hostile designs which is a trend nowadays. I departed Spotify long ago but its pair, the Tidal is at least as bad, some may say (me! me!) that is much worse.
It took about ca. 2-3 years for them to get to a state where you click on a song and it plays it. With no long delay, no stutter, ability to skip into a specific spot, almost no crash. With still no decent playlist support (2-3 years more work to develop this cutting edge revolutionary concept to an entry level), but it was enough to switch for HiFi quality. Since then there was a tiny addition to playlists, fairly usefule if you now where the traps are, but they did a bunch of making it flashy and big, with very limited advancement on functionality. In fact, basic functionality got f..d up here and there! Drag and drop makes random things, search bar jumps all over the place, album/playlist info only visible topmost or much scrolled down position, in between just a big emty space. Which ironically can react to click! They introduced the invisible item gets clicked concept. Funny. : / Lists go to the very edge, visually cluttered navigation and item text, invisible title bar to drag (but click slightly elsewehere and it will start some song). And the most bloated search results, yes! They make it exceptionally hard to find what you need, in pair with Spotify. And the same kind of suggestions and trends and lists and whatnot, but your own favourites are pushed back somewhere. Their choices have the prime location not your own! How hostile is that?! (very!)
Looks like they hired the slowest working most incompetent UX/UI designers, turning the usability into an ever descending spiral.
But on the positive side.... well, nothig. It is huge, slow like f..k, bloated, a nighmare to use.
As soon as I pick up building an offline file cathalog again I will go back to the good old days of owning my songs and copying the file I want to have in the centre. This streaming kind of hostile nighmare is not for me. I am thinking about collecting my complaints into a post but it is a long work. And futile anyway. I tried to communicate problems with them but they do not listen. They try to change my behaviour first, also asking about things I already told them, seems like not even reading my mail in full. So likely will just go away while emitting little puffs of smoke through my ears.Reply
Same clusterfuck on Amazon Music. It's like they don't want you to find anything. It constantly adapts based on some algorithm and it is parallizing.Reply
I don't think people understand the purpose of Spotify and every user interaction they engage you with. Spotify is not for you - you're not the customer. Big labels are. Podcasters are. You're a product and you're being shown what's been paid for.
Why do people couch their interactions with big tech as if they matter? What are you going to do, NOT use Spotify? Fat chance.Reply
I'm so irritated with Spotify. Deezer is a bit better, but not a hell of a lot. I was a CD buyer and music pirate for a very long time, and while music streaming has helped me find a lot of new music, it has come with many frustrations as well. The biggest problem is the slow slide from convenience into a pre-packaged, curated experience, leveraging the audience for extra revenue. I know it's inevitable when companies need to maintain constant growth, but I can't help but get a little angry when I'm paying for a service, and I'm STILL the product to be sold for advertising dollars. The old adage of "if you aren't paying for it, you are the product" doesn't apply anymore. It's now basically "If it is a service, you are the product".
You can't customize any of these home screens. You can't tell them to STOP SHOWING ME PODCASTS I DON'T LISTEN TO PODCASTS. You can't reset your listening profile to get back to a vanilla experience (especially applicable if you use your account for multiple different things. I don't listen to the same music while working as I do while working out, or actual "just sit-and-listen to music" sessions, and I also use music for D&D sessions, so all my suggested music ends up being a terrible mishmash. Spotify's suggestion here is to pay for multiple accounts.
Even the AI and suggested music is wearing thin. Both Spotify and Deezer just give me the same exact tracks constantly, 99% of it is very mainstream, well-known stuff, and I haven't discovered any new music in over a month, despite listening for at least 4 hours a day. I kind of want to go back to just pirating everything again. It's actually pathetic that these top-of-the-line services offer less flexibility, power, and control than just pirating music and sticking it on your PMP did 15 years ago. It's sad.
At least Bandcamp is still a thing, but then I've got an annoying library split. I can't mix my bought Bandcamp tracks in with Deezer or Spotify.
Why are these the options? Pay out the nose for music (if you're a serious listener, $150 gets you 10 albums, which I can get through in three days). Be a criminal. Pay for a subscription that gives you no control and sells you to advertisers.Reply
I still miss Rdio.Reply
I've heard that Spotify recommendations are top notch, but its terrible UX keeps me from switching from Apple Music (which sucks in different ways, but search is much better).Reply
It's not just Spotify that has this problem. All major, successful web applications have huge usability issues.
Software becomes successful not because of how it looks, but because of how it helps humans in their daily lives. The current fad is form over function to the nth degree.Reply
So we just forgot Joe Rogan and continued with Spotify as if nothing happened? Cool, cool.Reply
I f'ing hate spotify with a passion. The shit UX and them pushing JRE and other bullshit podcasts I dont want or need in my life was bad, but for me the final straw was that they decided to show me popups for their shit playlists when I was trying to put on one some music.
Found out they have been doing it for years to people, and if you complain they basically refer you to the suggestion box and to go f yourself. I don't get it. Why would you want to torment paying customers like that? Just leave me alone and let me play some music you psycopaths.
So I switched back to Apple music. It's pretty shit, but at least I get to decide what I want to listen too.Reply
The author's problem is that he is under the misapprehension that Spotify gives a fuck about what he wants.Reply
The design trend of replacing dense tables with white space heavy lists just grinds my gears. It’s in everything these days.Reply
"Dear product manager, can you stop creating useless widgets to justify your next raise?"
Spotify's UI is a case study of the negative impact of assigning single screens to single teams, designers and managers. There is no cohesive vision. The useful functionality is all obscured by esthetics. I am perpetually annoyed at how poor spotify is at it's basic purpose. They have leaned way too far into recommendation systems and over designed layout. 99% of the time, I know what I want to listen to. Spotify's UX is designed for people to 'browse' the app. That doesnt resonate with me, at all. I know what I want.
My biggest gripe with spotify is it's inability to reliably answer the question of "what playlist or source am I currently listening too?". A constant flow that spotify fails to deliver on is this: Search for a song, play the song, then the rest of the album, on repeat, without shuffle. It's annoying to have to load multiple slow UIs to navigate from search to album, visually search the album's track list and play the song your after.
Itunes and Windows Media Player set the standard for how media should be navigated and Spotify should use some of those old standard concepts.
Try browsing Armin Van Buuren's massive discography on Spotify.Reply
I still miss rdio. Even though I have pretty diverse tastes in bands and musical styles, I loved how rdio would match me up with other people who shared similar musical interests. I could look at their music collection for inspiration. I would find many new artists I loved this way.Reply
Spotify is full of those UI frustrations. There have been many times where I've thought "Just give me 'select * from songs where artist = % order by listen_count'".
I started slowly moving myself away from online streaming services for my daily listening. I ripped all my CDs (to FLAC so I can re-encode to whatever I want in the future) and started buying albums from new artists off of Bandcamp, 7digital and HDTracks. I've even bought a few new CDs from local record stores and ripped them. I still use streaming services for discovery but I'm moving back to blogs (Pitchfork, Stereogum, etc), aggregators (Anydecentmusic) and forums for more of that discovery.Reply
Just want to give a shoutout to Amazon Music, who (in a good way?) don't care much about the customer or a great experience, or even about being seen as a company who cares a lot about music or the artists.
They just shove a bunch of music into a giant search engine and do some easily ignorable curation.
But their search works great, easy to play an album, good back catalog on Unlimited (I've been doing a lot of crate digging into the early 2000s using Wikipedia's album catgeory listings and my hit rate between the list and it being in Amazon is about 85%)
The API sucks, playlists have weird limits, their UI is atrocious ... but you can hear what you like, when you like, so I'm happy.Reply
Dear Spotify users, don't.
There are good reasons Spotify does what Spotify does, some of which have already been mentioned in this thread. Instead of begging and groveling for them to change, why not change your habits to ones more beneficial to you? Spotify has never promised users freedom; they are simply a front-end to their collection of licensed music. Spotify has all the power in the relationship with their users and will perpetrate abuse on their users without hesitation or warning.
If you're on a freedom-respecting OS, I recommend either soulseekqt or any plain old BitTorrent client for music acquisition. I recommend mpd with ncmpcpp as a client for playing, and sending cash by mail to whoever you want. Remember, sharing is a virtue, not a vice.Reply
Spotify won’t even let you view an artist’s songs in order, which frustrates me because I like to listen to entire discographies in order while working. I spent one weekend building a free tool to generate chronological playlists for an artist - https://www.timelineify.com.
A decent number of people use this, which I think indicates some clear gaps in Spotify’s basic display features. Luckily the Spotify API is very generous with the data they expose about artists.Reply
I don't know if others saw the same behavior. I'm on Android. And I feel like I'm in some sort of a big A/B test regarding their app. One day, the interface changes one way, couple days later it changes back. Constantly some menu or behavior changes. It's super frustrating. Lately it seems to have stabilized, but it really made me feel like a guinea pig. And maybe that's my inner old person speaking, but most of the changes really made it worse. Thinking about movie streaming apps maybe that's on purpose to make everything require just a couple more clicks. But this is music streaming. Most ppl wanna turn it on and then it sits in your pocket.Reply
I miss being able to buy music for other people.Reply
And please show the release YEAR of albums in the Appears On section. AND please stop recommending stupid house remixes of my favourite songs. I don't like house music one bit, I don't know the remix artist at all, so don't recommend their TRASH to me!Reply
I find that the top result is the right one about 90% of the time, so it’s not really an issue. That said, the other 10% is pretty irritating.
Side note…I believe that all music apps are _fated_ to irritating mediocrity.
iTunes was once perfect, and grew unusable. Spotify was perfect in 2019 and is trending toward usability issues as well.Reply
When talking about the downside of Spotify, everyone focuses on the lack of control over the catalog. This is a real issue, with tracks sometimes just disappearing, but another loss of control is in the interface.
Local audio files for me, please.Reply
> There are so many terrible UX/UI patterns everywhere in these tech companies. Apple, Google, Spotify, Netflix, Microsoft, Amazon, etc;
I 100% agree with this, and I find myself increasingly hating software the worse the UX is.
I was in visual studio the other day, and wanted to view the properties of the project on the settings page, so I open it up trying to view it, which immediately and automatically without any input from me fired some sort of event off that modified the settings and completely broke the project.Reply
My biggest problem with Spotify (and possibly the easiest to fix?) is that you can add songs only to a single end of the play queue. In Google Play Music (RIP) you had a deque. And that single reason is why I chose Tidal. I don't use playlists, I always eiter create my queue ad-hoc or listen to whole albums.Reply
I second this.
Also this UI / UX issue isn't just a problem with Spotify but iTunes (Apple Music) to! So I guess it's just a general trend that started for no good reason.
In iTunes, the table view is now only for the main page, and has been gone from the search and the playlist pages. It's so inconsistent. You get the nice old-school table view when you're on default but then when on the search page they display it on grid view. On the playlist page, you're like on this weird half-table half-grid view.Reply
I just use youtube for music.
I listen to a lot of new wave retro and lesser known prog/prog metal and it's all on there anyway.Reply
Been using spotify since they launched a beta in the US (11 years ago?), but them constantly pushing services that are not music on their platform, and populating their recommended playlists cheaper-per-play songs, I am actively looking to move.Reply
Want to browse your favorite genre?
Trying clicking Search, and then... scroll through and read 80 tiles, one by one, until you find the one you're looking for!
You can't sort the list.
It's not even in alphabetical order.
The ordering of the list changes based on unknown criteria.
It's comically bad UI/UX. If there was a sitcom about bad UX, this would be in the pilot episode.Reply
While we’re at it, can we just get a list of daily mixes? Seems completely random which of them I’ll seeReply
For those wanting an alternative, do give Tidal a trial (there are services that can port over your playlists).
Pros: You can view almost everything as a list, although their UI is optimized for touch screens - so the rows are rather large. Their radio rivals Pandora in terms of properly understanding your tastes.
Cons: After a very quick look, I don't think they do podcasts. Their API support is utter shit, 3rd party clients aren't a possibility, and there is no Linux client. You have to use the their client for "master" quality (which isn't bit-perfect and is definitely snake oil).
Having tried Spotify, Amazon Music, Google Play, Pandora, and Qobuz, I have found that Tidal is comfortably the best.
Amazon Music is a very close second, but suffers from what I call the "Armin Effect". Armin van Buuren plays many genres of electronic music, and so inferior recommendation engines tend to connect this huge umbrella of genres through Armin. Your taste in music may not be affected by this problem. Tidal and Pandora are the only two services I have used that don't suffer from this.Reply
>Dear Spotify, can we just get table of songs?
No, you can't. This is a for-profit service, and a table of songs interferes with their ability to choose what you listen to, and prefer certain artists or songs over others. I would not expect a high-quality music library interface from any cloud provider, because the intent is to stream you the things they prefer, and not empower you.Reply
A couple of months ago I asked my wife to put on an a specific album in the car. I was surprised to find out she had just turned on the spotify artist shuffle. She then explained that this is how she listens to all music on spotify: search artist, press the big green button. This is very anecdotal, but since then i have been amazed to find out that a huge chunk of < 30y olds i have asked listen to music exactly this way.
I'm still not sure if those users use spotify this way because the ui is so bad or if the ui is molded towards those users...Reply
It's funny that Spotify is regarded as a talented dev shop, but they don't know how to seed their random number generator.Reply
This is a big frustration of mine, too. The other is that Spotify is extremely biased towards playlist listening and makes browsing and listening to a library of albums really painful.
The good news is that Spotify's SDK and API are actually powerful enough that you can build up an entire alternative interface, which is actually what I recently started doing: https://i.imgur.com/ar7VrYy.png.
It's still work in progress but actually works perfectly well already. It's not ready for public use yet and also isn't open source yet though. If you want to follow development I guess the best place to do that is my twitter: https://twitter.com/tom_j_watson.Reply
I agree, spotifys ux is terrible. Nowadays though I dont notice it as much, probably because i use it every day. But I have complaints.
Ive mentioned it before but their mobile design sucks. I use it a lot in my car, so usually ill keep the playback screen open amd just swipe when I need to change songs, simple and probably safe. But if I swipe ever so slightly upward, it opens the lyrics function, so I have to look down, see what happened, swipe, then get back to driving. I get im not using it the way it is "supposed" to be used, but its an akward design choice anyways. When are the lyrics that on the fly important, and even when im looking at the screen I still mess it up.
That and the issues ive been having with the desktop app. Maybe its just my hardware but it never seems to just open om the first try, I usually have to close, then reopen it.Reply
Use the web interface. With Adblock you can play any song and play entire albums, in order, for free.Reply
I agree with the post. I should be able to set how I view my search results. Not everyone has the bandwidth to download all of the album art.
My most recent, frustrating bug is setting an album or podcast to be available offline and then having to wait 30 seconds to 1 minute for the iOS app to give up on finding the network while in airplane mode.
Like another top comment mentions, there seems to be no cohesive vision.
If a true competitor ever emerges, I’m happy to jump ship. I enjoy the subscription experience a lot.
p.s. - I never want ads or popups for new album drops. I’d take a “feed” with search available over whatever “Home” is.Reply
Less is moreReply
Spotify's UI is the absolute worst. The craziest thing to me is that it's never improved either, it's always been down bad. - Managing music offline is _terrible_. The first iPod did it well in 2001, but Spotify still can't let you navigate your downloaded music while offline on mobile at in any reasonable manor - The "Now Playing" mechanism is awkward and confusing. Sometimes your playlist disappears as you play it, eliminating the "previous track" function - If you come across the song while listening to a playlist, and you want to switch to listening to song in the context of the album instead of the playlist, there's no way to do it without restarting the song from the start (Apps like Foobar 2000 do this extremely well) - Their recommendation engine is (generally) terrible. There's one particular song I get every single time I play one of three of my generated "mixes" even though I choose "Don't Recommend" every single time it comes on. - My generated "mixes" are almost identical every day. Gimme something I haven't heard before! - On the topic of not wanting to hear a particular artist, they added "Block Artist" functionality, as a compromise in response to anger that controversial artists like Chris Brown were allowed to stay on the platform. Annoyingly though, you can only access this feature from mobile. Like if I wanted to listen to The Smiths on my laptop for some reason, I'd have to first use my phone to unblock them (I blocked them due to the aforementioned "Don't Recommend" feature not working) - They are a shitty podcast player, so I use the excellent Pocket Casts instead. Unfortunately, there's no way to not to be exposed to be inundated with ads for their original podcasts whenever you're navigating the app - I resent the idea of podcasts being locked to a specific platform in the first place. It's bad enough that we have a dozen different streaming services, but now we have vendor lockin with podcasts? Give me a break. - No lossless audio in 2021 - Artist pages are a fragmented mess. Look at the page for Barenaked Ladies for an example. Their catalog is hard to navigate because they have such a large amount of live albums. Why put live albums in with studio albums? - Similarly, multiple editions of the same album are listed separately (but not always). Look at the page for The Beatles for an example. They have 3 versions of Sgt Peppers (various special editions which came out over the years), and they are all tagged as 1967. Then they have a "Super Deluxe" of Let It Be which apparently came out in 2021. Why do contemporary reissues and remasters sometimes have the date of the remaster, and other times have dates of the original albums?
I could go on...Reply
A concise explanation: functionalism is secondary to the attention economy for modern media platforms.
Hard to advertise in a functional list grid, but yeah like fuck, I’m right there with you. It’s to the point where I’d rather just steal the album off of YouTube. At least there’s an ad-blocker.Reply
Ha, you should try Deezer. I don't even know how to get to my own music using their interface.Reply
To be honest the album art view in media catalogs is actually quite easy to "scan" if you know what you are looking for already. I guess our brains are probably hard wired for this sort of visual quickly-spotting-something-familair/-important/-dangerous-in-a-jumble-of-other-stuff type thing.
I would prefer a toggle to flip between a list (ideally with sortable headers etc) and album art cover view though - not exactly super complex to resolve.Reply
I found the iOS Spotify app dreadful. The UX is so difficult to navigate. I can’t go into details but I had to uninstall it, it’s basically unusable.Reply
Spotify's UI is a nightmare to use. If someone from the UX team hangs out on HN, please pass the message to the right people - fix the menu and split podcasts from music.Reply
I still don't understand why sometimes I click play on an album of a specific artists and in half an hour or so songs from a completely different artists start playing too. I specifically did not click mix or radio or genre - just play on the album itself. I have no idea why big companies like that always have to have such shitty UI.Reply
UI and UX got optimized to hell like other streaming services chasing metrics at all cost.
Sometimes I think there are companies and apps that would benefit from firing their entire UX/UI teams wholesale and then slowly rehiring a portion of them as actual problems crop up from their absence. A reset to this A/B madness of sorts.Reply
I have similar issues with their desktop app and the UI seems to get worse over time.
Their API is pretty good and I've used it to build a PoC desktop client using JavaFX that works using simple table controls and local Sqlite caching so I can search/filter my playlist "library". The API even has playback controls and nowplaying support. Pretty much everything needed to build an alternative usable client.
The reason I did not continue with it and I'm still stuck with their desktop-(but-actually-web)-client is that the playback control API seems to be blocked by Sonos so I cannot use it to control my main listening devices.
I love Spotify as a service but their clients are horrible.Reply
I wish so many "modern" things just had "spreadsheet view" and "spreadsheet edit" mode.Reply
Do they do any development still? I haven’t seen a single useful feature come out from the team during past 3 years. Their single tap feature is absurdly bad. For some reason, shuffle is never truly random and keeps playing same old songs. I know people have been complaining about this for years. There is no easy way to merge duplicate playlists. There is tons of things to do but I don’t think they have any development team anymore. They rode on popularity, founders cashed out, bought private islands and now they probably only have small maintenance team to keep the lights on.Reply
One can reverse engineer the ideal customer according to Spotify.
It is a person who to a large extent gave up on strong personal preferences and is comfortable with algorithmic/business driven replacement.Reply
First time I tried out Spotify I as horrified to find that so many common functions are behind a pay wall. I forgot which one but probably just too many to recall. I will never use Spotify.Reply
I like how the OP mentioned "Spotify's buddy, Apple Music". I work in IT for 15 years and I legit have problems navigating the app, I thought I must be stupid or something. Same with Tidal, just absolutely abhorrent UI where nothing makes any sense. Wanna go back to the Playlist you were literally just listening to a couple hours ago? That would be four clicks, three scrolls, a swipe and two jumping jacks. Want to listen to your favorite song from that playlist? Well then I hope it's not a long playlist because we removed the album arts for no reason. Guess you gotta squint your eyes pretty hard while scrolling and you'll find it eventually. Good luck.Reply
Now that they are the market leader, Spotify does not have any business incentive to make their app nice to use. In fact, their incentives are to keep you paying but not listening, since that maximizes their ROI.Reply
Also - can we get a queue that clears itself when I click Play on an album, and that I can add songs to the front of?
I added a +1 to the "Play Next" community feature request . Not sure if one exists for the queue clearing behavior, but I would definitely +1 that too if I found it.Reply
Spotify loves to use big images, long song lines and then stick the buttons that you need in (...)Reply
I’ve been extremely frustrated by Apple Music/iTunes Match over the years. The whole reason I use that combo is that I got a big library of MP3 of my own, and this allows me to upload them as well as download my whole library. It doesn’t always work though, I’ve noticed that songs have disappeared over the years which is worriesome. I constantly get errors when I try to add new songs. Chinese or nicher songs are not always on Apple music, but always on youtube, so I sometimes have to download the song from youtube in MP3. It’s hard to figure out what songs I’ve listened to when I listen to their radios (so that I can add them to my library). And in general searching for a song in my library (basic feature) is an awful experience. Should I move to spotify?Reply
I tried switching from YouTube music to spotify recently and was shocked that they don't have a _music library_ feature: a table of songs that you can slice by artist, album, etc, in the manner of every music player since the dawn of time.
How does anyone serious about music use it? Did I somehow miss that spotify is only intended for casual, "I'll listen to whatever"-type users?Reply
I've got tired of this stuff so I just went back to downloading music. It has friction but in the end it's much better to have my music in my regular music player.Reply
I recently switched to Deezer, and the app web and webapp are so much more usable. And you can still upload missing tracks and sync them to your phone!Reply
+1 on the frustration. The UX is bad on desktops, mobiles and in-car systems..Reply
+1000 I hate the Spotify interface. Why the f can’t we get a full list of tracks for an artist?Reply
Anyone aware of decent alternative Spotify clients for Android (rooted is fine)? I can't stand the Spotify app.Reply
> If there is a piece of information about a podcast that is the least useful, that would be the cover art.
Slightly disagree with this. When you're searching for something whose cover art you know well, the visual match is definitely the fastest way for you to get to it.
Truncating the title/track info on the other hand, I agree is pretty unforgivable.Reply
I used to really like Spotify when I first installed it long time ago, but over the years they worked really hard to make me hate them with passion. It feels like their motto is "Change for change's sake", they seem to remove and add stuff randomly, shuffle UI elements whenever they want to, etc. In the meantime, the basic functionalities regress. I had the app bug out on me countless times in weird ways; offline stuff disappearing, freezes when clicking on an album, that one time when I was listening on headphones and suddenly Spotify changed volume from minimum to max and almost gave me hearing damage, etc.
Some time ago I moved to Tidal. It's not perfect, the search is inferior, the app bugs out sometimes too; but at least they don't seem to change it that much.Reply
Only reason I use Spotify (Premium = no ads) is that I don't have to manage my music anymore and I can find all the music I need / want. But holy moly it is going towards a bad direction, in fact so bad that I am considering moving to Apple Music...
Their desktop app used to have a "search bar" in their Home -view which is now moved to a separate "Search" -view, which is.. one of the most annoying things ever.
I used to boot up Spotify, hit ctrl+f, type the playlist or artist I was looking for and click.
Now it's just a mess.
edit: remove curse wordsReply
I'm sorry, but... now that we are speaking about Spotify... can we get Airplay 2 PLEASE? It's been so long since they said they were working on it...Reply
> Hmm. What the fuck is this!? Why are you trying to be edgy?
This killed me lol. Very true. Thanks for the write-up.
I left Spotify after a few years of using it and currently am trying Tidal because they pay the artists more apparently? Sadly, however, they're guilty of the same UX problems.Reply
Does anyone know a "good" source of torrent fo music? I'm tired of Spotify and Deezer, the former not giving me the free choice of settings to, say, disable podcasts and the latter not having a "native" linux client at all. I'm going for Gnome's Music app + stored music somewhere.Reply
Try cmd+K - it brings up a search modal which shows results in a table.Reply
UIs are designed by children these days.Reply
Spotify UI in general feels like way too many product managers aggressively justifying their existence instead of making what the end user actually needs.Reply
at least it now has built in lyrics (even when sometimes not in sync)Reply
The goal with this design (same for Netflix etc) is not to show you the results you want to see in the most efficient format, it's to push what they want you to see.
It's even more apparent on Netflix where the UI has got progressively worse over the years to the point it's basically unusable to discover stuff you actually want to see - I mean, large rows of "you watched this already, here it is again".Reply
If a Spotify PM is collecting feedback: If I go to a song's Radio to try and discover similar songs, do not play me songs I already "liked" (ones with the heart icon highlighted), it defeats the purpose of going to the radio.Reply
I just assume this and all UI weirdness in programs these days are dark patterns and they work very well for whatever nefarious reason the company uses them for.Reply
Spotify is horrendous. Their UI is subpar. Their mix of podcasts with songs is odd at best (seriously, I never listen to podcasts, why can't I switch it off completely?). Their shuffle is just not. Imagine listening to the same 20ish songs from a playlist of nearly 2k songs. How can you mess up shuffle that bad?
It's also not easy to move away from it. It requires time and effort. Time that many don't have.Reply
Plex (and plexamp) have really brought back the old iTunes interface I didn't know I was missing.
I can search and get a list, I can sort within that list by whatever I want, I can create a "smart playlist" for "100 tracks, with more than 5 plays that were last played more than 3 months ago". There's also a "shuffle albums" feature that I didn't realize I missed from iTunes. You can also add a tidal subscription within plex, but it's a little clunky so I just stick to my library.Reply
I’ve moved on to another service once I realised that there was no way to remove JRE Podcast from my homepage, despite the fact I hadn’t listened it in months.Reply
Is there a Spotify alternative that uses YouTube but actually has the former's features like cataloguing albums and recommended playlists?
I just want to search some songs and play them.Reply
I quite like YouTube Music's UI. The suggestions to relisten to songs I've listened to, the autosuggest continue on the same type of music works really well and has helped me discover many new bands i now like.
The search manages to show the album art, title, artist and type ( song or album, and it's grouped by song, album, artist).
And of course there's the added bonus that it comes with a YouTube Premium subscription, so i get good music UI + no YouTube ads + YouTube mobile app downloads.Reply
True. I left Spotify years ago for the single reason of their UI/UX getting worse every update. First tried to offer feedback on their tracker, but it just never changed for the better...Reply
Today everything is focused on making money. The focus on money makes the experience good for the ones that make the money, but for the end user it means everything turns into one giant ad.
That's why Spotify uses tiles instead of tables. The tiles are important for the content producer, not for the Spotify user. A tile can scream at you 'Listen to me!', a row in a table cannot do this.
It shows that Spotify is making more money from content creators than content consumers.Reply
I don't like when podcast creators publish on Spotify only as it is not even possible to change playback speed in their web ui. And yt-dlp doesn't work either. They want me to download their app & create an account to just be able to listen so I mostly seek through it quickly or skip the podcast completely. They should follow the Netflix path, it is barely usable service.Reply
I cancelled my spotify subscription after they banned libspotify from working in May. I was using it in Mopidy using the Iris plugin to get this nice table of songs. Now I'm spending my subscription fee on MP3s to grow my local MP3 collection and curating local playlists in Iris just like the olden days. So far so good.Reply