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case study - 2020

Launching Music Videos in Spotify

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Spotify

Spotify is a digital music, podcast, and video streaming service that gives you access to millions of songs and other content from artist all over the world. While video streaming is included in select content, music videos still remain unseen in the application. Canvas was the first step to video viewing for Spotify, only showing eight second loops of select songs. How could we seamlessly introduce music videos to increase engagement and overall revenue? 

My team looked to improve Spotify's existing application by extending its feature set to allow users to do their listening and viewing all at the same time. 

role —

User Researcher

Interaction Designer

Visual Designer

duration 

2-week sprint

responsibilities 

User Research, Synthesis, Ideation, UI Design, and Prototyping

team 

2 other UX Designers

tools 

Figma, Otter, Miro, Photoshop

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problem 

With competitors unlocking the potential for audio and music videos, Spotify has an opportunity for market expansion and additional revenue sources. How could we enhance engagement and lessen platform-switching for users as well as provide an additional creative outlet for artists?

Spotify users are loyal to their favorite streaming service but did feel there was an important medium missing. With a majority of users frequently watching music videos, platform-switching was frustrating as they wanted to do their streaming all in one place. Spotify has been featuring video viewing on select content and users want music videos to be included from their favorite artists and added into their curated playlists. 

With competitors widening their offering to accommodate users' needs, our team felt that this feature addition would not only benefit it's users but the company as a whole. With a reported 180 million mobile video viewers in the U.S. in 2020, Spotify could begin to explore other avenues of revenue through media partners, advertising, and market expansion.

The Best of Both Worlds

Our goal for this project was to unite listening and watching all within Spotify. This meant our users would stay on Spotify's platform and would save them the time and frustration of switching between screens. We implemented the music videos feature consistently throughout Spotify for ease of use and stayed on brand so the addition wasn't intrusive to their daily flow.

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before  No indication of existing video content on Spotify's platform. 

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after  Music video content featured within each section of Spotify to cater to each user and how they discover music. 

Finding Insights Based on Video Viewing Behavior

My team conducted 9 user interviews to learn from existing Spotify users about their streaming and music video viewing behaviors. Through affinity mapping, we identified key insights into the need for implementing music videos and what drives users to consistently watch.

01. I would rather see full music videos over Canvas (8 second video loops on select songs on Spotify).

02. I rely on search to find what I'm looking for.

 

03. I frequently watch trending music videos.

04. I watch music videos from my favorite artists.

05. I am always looking for new music using Spotify's "Discover Weekly" playlist.

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Through affinity mapping, we gained insights that would help develop personas and move us through the design process

Who is watching?

Through the collection of key insights, we created two central proto-personas that summarized our music video viewing audience.

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THE SUPER FAN

The first proto-persona we created was Bec Cameron. She frequently follows trending music and keeps up-to-date with any new releases from her favorite artists. She is tired of platform-switching and feeling behind on discovering new content.

THE CREATIVE

Our second proto-persona is Tucker Morrison. Music acts as a creative outlet for him and he loves to find inspiration from music videos for his art. With the lack of video content, he feels that he is missing out on his next masterpiece.

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Unlocking Opportunities for Spotify

Our main focus was the user experience but we also saw the potential business opportunity for Spotify. We dove into market research by learning more about Spotify's positioning in the music industry and music video streaming as a whole.

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Highlights from secondary research

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I continued my research efforts through competitive analysis in an attempt to see where Spotify could improve. Spotify does not offer music videos and exclusive releases compared to its competitors.

 

As seen by the market research above, the addition of podcast video content helped increase user base and overall revenue. With the success seen quarter over quarter, there is ample opportunity to expand into other sources of video content.

Our vision— one place for listening and watching

Success in this project was defined by finding the intersection between user and business goals. Adding a music video feature would not only keep users on the platform but help the overall user experience. Users would be able to easily discover the new feature with little friction, be provided new options for music content, and lessen the frustration of switching between platforms. 

Adding Full Length Music Videos

The central feature of this project was the addition of music videos. We wanted to make this transition seamless to reduce any friction with this feature update. Based on research of Reels, users wanted the option for the full length music video. Keyword here is "option" as many users wanted the choice to view music videos instead of the existing feature which is set to auto play.

 

With the knowledge that Spotify had released select video content on podcasts, we wanted to reimagine the way it was done. Many users did not know video content was even available on the platform so we set out to implement the music video element where it was easily accessed by users.

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Discovering Music Videos using Search

Users frequently use search to discover new music and playlists so I began brainstorming how to seamlessly introduce music videos. I wanted consistency throughout Spotify as users find music in different ways - home page, search, playlists, etc. With the addition of a music video section on the home page, I followed Spotify's lead with implementing podcasts and created a music videos category. I also implemented music video playlists that were on brand with Spotify but also aligned with our user's viewing behavior - artists and top trending music.

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Increasing Engagement through Artist Feature

With users' viewing behavior directly correlating to their favorite artists, I created a new section on the homepage so users could easily discover music videos based on their past listening behavior. During our research phase, Spotify users praised their recommendation algorithm so this seemed to be a no-brainer for me when creating this. 

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Viewing Music Videos in Playlists

With users discovering new music through popular playlists such as "Discover Weekly", I had to consider the two different ways to view music within Spotify - song view and playlist view. With research being split on whether music (songs) and music videos fall under separate categories, I fell back on previous research on podcast video content. Podcasts currently group audio and video together but users were unaware that video content was offered at all. Moving forward, I decided to separate the two by following Spotify's existing tab structure and I added clear labels so users knew about this new feature.

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Iterate, iterate, iterate

My team participated in a design studio where we shared sketches on how we would tackle our key insights. We explored different ways a user would be able to view music videos: toggle button, icons, and tabs. We also took into consideration how users view content - song view and playlist view. From there, it was a matter of introducing new categories that fit seamlessly with the existing structure and appeared on brand with Spotify.

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After conducting a design studio with many iterations and ideas, we were ultimately focused on implementing this feature seamlessly within the platform. 

NAVIGATING TO DISCOVER WEEKLY
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FINDING MUSIC VIDEOS THROUGH SEARCH
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MORE ITERATION

After further collaboration and laying out designs, I started bringing everything to life using Figma. I would share my designs with my team, get feedback, and continue with another round of iterations. 

The initial challenge was creating a seamless transition between songs and music videos and how this could easily understood by users. From the initial sketches, I began brainstorming different ways this could be presented to users. Working in tangent with my team, we found a solution that we felt would be the most discoverable and provide that ease of use our users wanted.

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Onward to Testing

After creating low fidelity wireframes, we developed a prototype. Using our prototype, we conducted one round of usability testing with a few users to ensure our new feature fit seamlessly within Spotify. Our users praised our designs and the only concerns that arose were technical. Users wanted to ensure that switching would be seamless and that videos would disable while driving. These were all important insights and things we would consider for future iterations.

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Insights collected from usability testing

reflections 

The experience of working with a whole team of designers fortified my belief that different perspectives can only add in creating a beautiful yet functional user experience. My two teammates were always there to ideate with and improve upon any existing designs.

Through numerous feedback sessions and iteration upon iteration, I've learned that design work is never truly done and can always be improved upon. This is something I love as I can flex my curiosity muscle and continue to question how to create a better user experience moving forward.

Working on a large brand like Spotify, this helped me learn to adapt to existing design systems, content, and to leverage existing branding. This allowed consistency and gave me more mental space to focus on the users.

building for the future 

Additional features:

  • Further testing and iterations to continue to improve the user experience

  • Focus our research efforts on artists to see what would improve their experience

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