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Spotify – letting down existing users in favor of focus groups of non-users

OK – I’m not sure this really belongs here, but I am a little frustrated with the re-design of Spotify and am angry they took away some key features and I feel like I need to get the info out there.

I’ll give a little background so you know what the whole story is.

1078854_616089421st off Spotify is a streaming music service that is “iTunes like” in a lot of ways, but is different in that it allows you to organize music you listen to on the streaming radio service provided by Spotify.

Spotify has really changed the way I listen to and more importantly discover new music.

It has allowed me up until now to not only listen in radio style like Pandora and other streaming services, but it has been a great way to organize the music I like in one place.

For example – it used to allow me to go find new similar artists and listen and decide if I liked something or not. If I liked it I had the ability to click and STAR it. These stars were visual so I could see in any list the songs I had already starred. If I wanted to make a playlist of my favorites from an artist for example it would also show me the songs I did not star (didn’t like).

As I listen to songs on Spotify I could UN STAR the songs I did not like. I could also look at a playlist and quickly remove songs without stars.

This was great and I have over 50,000 songs starred on Spotify.

I do not listen to them all, but they are in my stash of starred songs ready to play or make playlists with when I have the urge.

You know – find an artist you like and select all the songs and STAR all of them. That is common.

There are many artists who have hundreds or even thousands of songs.

The Black Dog has 295 songs on Spotify.

If WE like an artist it is natural to star all of their songs (until we hear that we don’t like them when we UNSTAR them).

The problem is that Spotify did a major re-design and not only changed the way it looked (which is acceptable from a design standpoint) but they TOOK AWAY features.

Most notably they moved all my starred songs into a playlist away from the main library and now the stars are HIDDEN or rather no longer available in all views of the artists, albums, songs etc.

YOU can only see the starred songs in a playlist. Nowhere else can you see that songs were starred.

That is where the major problem is and THEY Spotify don’t seem to get it.

They are forcing existing users to start over and abandon the starred songs we have spent so much time to “favorite”. We can now + a song and add it to “MY SONGS” but the starred songs are not AUTOMATICALLY + songs.

Why couldn’t they already do that for us?

You know – make our starred songs into + songs???

Could it be because there is now a 10,000 song limit in YOUR SONGS? (ACCORDING TO SPOTIFY help forum THERE IS A LIMIT OF 10,000 SONGS in “MY SONGS” AND YOU CAN’T MOVE MORE THAN 500 STARRED SONGS at a TIME INTO my songs)

WHY LIMIT how many songs we can like? I don’t get it?

Is that what Spotify is about? LIMITING how much music we can like?

Great slogan “Spotify: All the music you desire (up to 10,000 songs!)”

So what happens to power users like me with 50,000 starred song? They won’t let me + all of them???

IF YOU ASK ME SPOTIFY IS GOING BACKWARDS NOT FORWARDS.

They think they are making Spotify better with a new feature of YOUR MUSIC but they do not realize they are forcing existing users to do a LOT OF EXTRA WORK and spend time changing to their new way (AND limiting them in the process).

THIS is the kind of stuff that makes USERS angry.

Sure – maybe not a new user who has 47 songs in their library.

But are those really the kinds of users that support a service like Spotify?

Those people are more made for iTunes or Pandora or whatever. They are not power users and don’t really care about music or artists in general. They listen to top 40 radio. Different kind of user.

I’ll put a few links at the bottom so you can get a better idea of what they think they are doing with the redesign and also so you can see what the users are saying. Before I do that however here are my thoughts on what Spotify did to me, a power user, and all users.

They have said they tried the new design out on “focus groups” of people who have never used Spotify and if you ask me that is exactly the problem. They BURNED those of us who were already using it in favor of making it appealing to people who have never used Spotify. Is that crazy or what? So naturally they think that people like what they did. The people don’t know any better.

That is POOR MARKETING if you ask me.

Typically you ask your POWER users if they like something – not someone who doesn’t know how to use it.

Judging from the HELP FORUM on Spotify there are a lot of people like me who do NOT LIKE what they have done.

I suggest you read a fluffy PR article on the redesign at Engadget first before you read all of my comments.

> CLICK HERE to read it (opens in a new window)

It is very frustrating to read about the redesign goals in this fluffy PR piece, because WE the loyal users feel like Spotify is not listening to us. You are listening to people who have never used it more than your base. And that is why there is a serious problem.

If you look in the HELP forums at Spotify you will find that a LOT of us Spotify users are upset that FEATURES have been taken away. For no good reason.

For example STARRING songs is gone – now our OLD starred songs are exiled in a “starred” playlist instead of a rating we can see which tells us at a glance if we have already “favorited” a song.

And now you are telling us that you are de-emphasizing “starred items” in favor of a new feature called “My Music”. This is NOT better – you basically penalized power users who already have a lot of starred items.

Our hard work over the years starring songs we like is lost. You are forcing us to now click and save each song when we already have libraries of thousands of songs.

I am not the only one who has to deal with the hassle of either starting over or trying to get our starred songs into SAVED MY SONGS or whatever you call it.

You already had this feature with STARRED – why the change to a PLUS? And in the process of your BIG CHANGE now we have to MOVE our starred into “songs” in order to save them.

And there is a limit of 500 at a time and I am told there is a max of 10,000 “my songs”. Is that true? If so we are totally screwed.

It’s too complicated to go into all the details here.

@MichelleKadir and anyone else involved in the redesign should spend a little time in their own help forum and respond to people.

Your goals might read well in a press release but what about when you tell your users what they can and can’t do???

If you think you made Spotify friendlier by taking away features – you are wrong.

You screwed your existing users in favor or people who never used Spotify.

If you had focus groups with people who never USED spotify – that is your problem. They don’t know what they are missing. USERS do and are upset.

So basically you redesigned Spotify and made it for new users and hurt us faithful users who were already happy. You took away what we liked – mainly rating songs with a star (why only 1 star by the way – itunes has 5 star ratings???)

If you think I am just 1 angry user you obviously don’t listen to all the angry USERS in the Spotify forum. There are many of us who are lost without the visual stars showing what we like.

Redesigning and changing the look and feel is one thing but taking away features and forcing existing users to change and start over and do things a different way is just plain bad business.

As painful as it would be to leave Spotify, I am really looking for an alternative.

I need to be able to TRUST that my “personal library” is SAFE and will not be taken away from me or changed on me just because of a blind redesign.

If Spotify is really about the music and helping people people enjoy more of it and encourage diversity, as opposed to listening to the top 50 listened to tracks – you are going about it the wrong way. What you are doing limits choices.

> Read this fluffy PR piece on Spotify at Wired – Kadir of Spotify explains what she was trying to do with the re-design. It’s a must read.

If you have strong feelings about the way this redesign and removing of features was handled, I suggest you contact Michelle Kadir of spotify on her Twitter page and tell her what you think.

Normally I’d say go to the Spotify forum and chime in, but I honestly do not think anyone at Spotify reads or answers anything there. The forum is mostly users passing around misinformation.

Michelle Kadir Twitter @MichelleKadir

> Spotify Forum Help Topic – Can’t Add Star after Update

> Horrible Update