Spotify dramatically updates its look and features

Spotify announced significant updates to its various computer and mobile apps today, affecting the look-and-feel of the user experience, and adding important music-collection features.

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Spotify is leading with the cosmetic change — the apps are redesigned with darker hues, featuring black backgrounds that make album covers and other artwork more distinct. “Spotify paints it black” is the press headline, whimsically referring to the Rolling Stones song. “Welcome to the dark side” — more playful reference to the new color scheme from the Spotify PR office.

On the feature side, users can now add albums and artists to personal collections. You might think this function was already present in an on-demand service, but Spotify has been playlist-oriented, not library-oriented. Users have been able to throw a song or an album into a playlist, and make a playlist out of a single album. But that is a little cumbersome, and we’ve heard complaints from Spotify users about the lack of straightforward save-to-library functions.

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spotify black iphone 01 250wNow, under YOUR MUSIC, albums, artists, and songs can be listed. This welcome feature will probably lead to more collection activity, and more investment in listening from Spotify customers.

Spotify is also getting into the mood/activity playlist browsing popularized by 8tracks, Songza, and other services. This style of presentation, in which the user selects a life situation for soundtracking, is all the rage and has been imitated by Slacker, Beats Music, iHeartMusic, and others. In Spotify, the mood-based playlists include Mood Booster, Deep Focus, Songs for Sunsets, Rainy Day, Better Off Without You, and many more.

In reviewing the changes, we were not able to activate them in the Windows desktop app, and we did not see an Android update or an iPad update. We did see the new Spotify in the computer browser interface, and in the iPhone and iPad app updates. Spotify’s press office told RAIN that the changes will ripple through the ecosystem gradually, with Android delayed.

Brad Hill