We live in a world in which we can establish a connection online almost anywhere and anytime we want. In the world of radio, this has resulted in people moving away from terrestrial radio to Internet radio. Internet radio looks like it’s here to stay for the foreseeable future due to services such as Spotify, which have really popularized listening to music online and on mobile.
Spotify has stolen the spotlight from services such as iTunes, due to its ability which allows a user to not only stockpile their own music playlists, but share them to the world of social media. Connor was strongly against using Spotify for a long time, but has been using it for the past two weeks for the sake of blogging and honestly feels that it is quite a good platform. Spotify allows the user to interact with terrestrial radio stations, but possesses the capability to do so much more than just a normal radio platform because it combines Pandora, iTunes, and Facebook. Pandora uses artists that a user is interested in to compile a database of songs that fit the user’s particular needs. iTunes allows the user to organize their music while having access to podcasts and terrestrial radio. Facebook allows the user to keep up with their friends, see pictures of family, and post about what they themselves are doing. Spotify combines all of these features into one effectively, aided by good design.
There’s a good chance that Spotify might not have taken off in the world of Internet radio if it had not been designed cleanly, and in a way that is familiar to the casual user. Before Spotify, iTunes had been the dominant music platform on computers, and many users had grown used to the Mac interface with the menu on the left-hand side and the Now Playing window at the bottom left-hand corner. Spotify wisely copied this interface from iTunes, so that users signing up for the first time would know exactly how to work the program and not quit for frustration with the interface. However, it also differentiates itself from iTunes at the same time with its strong use of color; the lime-green logo and the polished black UI makes the program clearly distinguishable and memorable to the user. But the feature that is especially done well in Spotify is its incorporation of ads into the overall design. In competing services such as Pandora, you often find that the ads don’t fit well into the UI and are often poorly designed; but in Spotify, the ads feature attractive, non-pixelated graphics that consistently show up at the bottom and right sidebars with a sleek animation that contribute to Spotify’s trendy and modern feel.
However, some users dislike looking at ads no matter how attractive they look. Like most digital platforms, Spotify has a fee for users who wish to experience an ad free environment with a subscription-based business model. Connor and Lina both feel that this is the future of Internet radio and design.