How Spotify Can Make Stories Matter

Not just another social media rip off

Key Takeaways

  • Spotify is testing out a Stories feature on certain playlists.
  • If used correctly, it could help bridge the gap between artists and their listeners.
  • Further evolution of the feature could help make Spotify a more active social application.
Close up of a young person listening through headphones, holding a smartphone.
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Spotify’s new Stories feature could be a good catalyst to help push the app into a more active social hub that bridges the gaps between artists and listeners.

To help celebrate the season, Spotify has introduced a feature, only in testing for now, similar to Instagram’s Stories, which offers listeners a small message from some of their favorite artists. Experts believe that it could help make Spotify a more active social application and less of a passive app that people turn on and forget about.

"I think Spotify should and is trying to make itself the go-to place to see stories from your favorite musical artists," Amanda Clark, a digital media strategist for Charlene Shirk Public Relations, said via email. "Learn about new albums, tour dates, maybe even hear a sneak peek preview of a new song."

Passive Versus Active Use

The nice thing about Spotify, and the big appeal that Clark feels many users have with it, is the passive ability to simply load up your music and forget about the app. The use of playlists and albums allows users to take a very passive approach to how they catch up on the latest songs.

It gives them the freedom to explore music without having to wait on it to show up on the radio, or without having to listen to ads if they are a premium user. With a Stories feature, though, Spotify could turn the tide a bit and bring in more active users to its platform.

Woman dancing and listening music in the morning in her kitchen.
 Westend61 / Getty Images

"I think this is a smart/good move for Spotify," Clark said in our email. "They need to keep their app fresh and tuned into new trends and what people want or else they could end up like Google Play Music or Pandora."

Pandora, once a king among streaming services, is still very popular, though it has seen a downtick in monthly active users in recent years. This down trail is documented well in an article featured on BusinessofApps, which breaks down the app’s struggle to make any kind of profit. Pandora itself has recently introduced a Stories-like feature, using the quick video clips as a way to market podcasts and other audio services on the app.

Of course, Google Play Music has since seen a much grimmer fate, with the company shutting it down beginning in August 2020 in favor of YouTube Music, another music streaming service under the Google umbrella.

If Spotify wants to avoid running into similar pitfalls, then Clark believes it needs to step up and make the most of the features that it has available, including the recently tested Stories feature.

The Power of Stories

"There’s a reason why all of these major apps are giving us stories," Clark said later in our email. "It’s because time spent on the app increased due to stories. Plain and simple."

This isn’t the first time that Spotify has incorporated a video feature into its app, though. This year and throughout previous years, users and artists have received Wrapped stories, a breakdown of users' favorite artists, songs, and how much music they listened to on the app. Artists also receive a breakdown of how much their songs have been played.

With some users reporting almost 16,000 minutes of content being listened to on their accounts, it really shouldn’t be a surprise that Spotify would be looking to evolve the app and bring in something like Stories.

Some users were quick to dismiss the feature, while others can see the value that it brings. 

"I was about to complain about the Spotify Stories but they got Paul talking about McCartney I and II." Twitter user @longhairedladyy wrote on December 1.

Others on Twitter shared similar sentiments about the potential, while some like @TmartTn tweeted that it needed to stop.

"Many users say they don’t like stories or want them on Spotify," Clark said in the email. "But the data strong[ly] suggests the opposite." She pointed to an article on MediaKix, which detailed that in November 2018 over 400 million people were using Instagram Stories every day. 

While it might not seem like Stories are that big of a deal, if Spotify can manage to evolve the feature and focus on what it does best—bringing its users everything music-related—then we could see the app grow its active users more and more.

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