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Meaningful Music: Spotify's Next-Level UX

From increased investment to hard-earned savvy in how to deliver great experiences, 2020 and the coming decade will be about creating value through delivering meaningful moments. Anything less will die. Let’s take a look at Spotify Wrapped from this lens.

The perfect playlist. The right song for your mood, or the season. A new artist that you hadn’t heard yet. Spotify “Wrapped” usually appears in December and reminds us of the meaningful projects, experiences and places we visited, while listening to great music, throughout the year. It’s fun to look back at the past year (or, the past decade!), and there are User and Customer Experience lessons in each year’s release of Wrapped.

Wrapped is a great example of the new era in UX and CX because it…

Reminds users of the value of the brand:

Music is an integral part of the memories we make, and the experiences we have. Spotify uses Wrapped to remind us that it is the access point for those experiences. The app is a part of your life. Attention is the highest form of currency in the experience economy, and Spotify shows us just how many minutes, hours and days we spent interacting with their product, service and brand.

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Invite us to re-engage with the app

Great platforms and apps find ways to keep their users engaged. My musical tastes span a variety of genres and artists, and I don’t always revisit songs that I might have enjoyed earlier in the year. With Wrapped, Spotify helps me “rediscover” songs that were buried in my library. More importantly, the brand becomes entwined in my relationship with this year’s music, and the experiences I had while listening to that music. I’m not only rediscovering the music, but I’m taking a tour back through all of the meaningful events of the year.

Personalizing the customer experience leads to more engagement:

How much more music did you listen to when your “Wrapped” playlist launched? If you’re like me, you immediately flipped through songs from five, six, or even seven years ago. I found myself playing more music than normal. Spotify has used its customer data to form a 1:1 relationship with me, which feels much different than if they had issued a press release or infographic about “Top Artists Globally” or other less-personal end-of-year platform announcements.

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More importantly, Spotify leverages my personal data in a way that doesn’t feel creepy. Tech giants like Facebook and Google have come under fire recently for their data collection and privacy practices, and yet Spotify is placing all of their data collection on full display with Wrapped, without any backlash. The presentation, the design and the user experience on Spotify proves that…

Creating meaningful experiences drives competitive advantage:

Spotify has more than 80 million users and is obviously collecting mountains of user data to sell back to advertisers. However, Spotify’s transparency and sharing of my history feels different than my experiences with other tech giants. It’s fun. It’s creative. The positive customer experience places Spotify’s brand in a different category than Facebook, Google and Amazon. True, music might lend itself more to this type of experience, but Spotify has successfully used Wrapped to create community and conversations among its user base. Contrast this with Facebook’s friendiversaries or memories sections. Similar concept, but Facebook’s UX execution feels clunky and disingenuous. Spotify manages to create a competitive advantage when there isn’t any, while Facebook (whose stated mission is “to bring the world closer together”) fails. We work with our clients to improve their products from “usable” to "meaningful," and Wrapped is a great example of a brand taking the proper steps to accomplish UX improvement.

Spotify’s UX and visual design delivery matches perfectly with their desired marketing outputs, which reminds us that…

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Content marketing and design work together:

Spotify deliberately designed content that was compelling enough to share. Wrapped includes animation, graphs, charts and colors that standout. The design is interactive, and the mobile interface even felt like scrolling through a friend’s story feed on Instagram. The user experience mirrors the familiar format of Instagram and Snapchat, and each tile was easy to share on those platforms.

This alignment between content, and design and user experience enabled Spotify’s customers to become brand evangelists. Spotify took Wrapped one step further however…they created a second Wrapped section for recording artists which showcased each artist’s annual listening. Segmenting user experience in this way provided a platform for artists to thank their fans, which produced more potentially viral content at different levels of the customer journey.

Spotify UX-Maroon 5

And with that, I suppose it’s my turn to contribute to the viral content. Here’s our Drawbackwards Spotify Focus playlist…feel free to follow, and we’ll connect at this time at the end of this year to see which experiences we shared 2020.

Interested in more predictions for 2020? Check out this blog post.

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