Spotify’s Reign Nears Its End As Years of Goodwill Vanishes

a green spotify icon with a crown on top of it .

a green spotify icon with a crown on top of it .

Since the first free registrations for Spotify opened up in 2010, the popular music streaming app has dominated the market. Hundreds of competitors pop out of the woodwork year after year, but Spotify's reign over the music streaming industry has always been apparent, but right now it's certainly doing a good job trying to lose its decade-long throne.

Spotify has always been one of the best apps for iPhone and best apps for Android, giving users millions and millions of songs on-the-go. While the Premium subscription is the best experience, for years, the Free tier was great value - a few ads, and the inability to listen to anything but playlists made it difficult - but the overall consensus was that Spotify is the future.

And it was. Spotify's success practically removed the requirement of buying and owning music, ending the reign of Apple’s iTunes in just a few months. Not only did it give you access to your favorite artists without paying per song for a file or a CD to clutter up your living space, but it also gave you the opportunity to find unique artists without any investment outside of your subscription.

Unfortunately, the last few years have been difficult for Spotify, and it seems like the company is keen to ruin years of goodwill with customers by adding in unnecessary features, removing good ones, and some controversies that make it easy for users to say goodbye to the leading service.

Take for instance, the recent closure of Car Thing. The streaming services' first foray into hardware, Car Thing was an optional smart device that, you guessed it, sat in your car and allowed you to use Spotify as a voice-activated piece of tech. The device was discontinued in 2022, but despite still being usable, Spotify decided this year to give Car Thing six months to live, with the device set to become a paperweight in December 2024. No discounts, no refunds, no good gesture to countless users relying on the device.

This follows years of unnecessary features and changes that have made Spotify a ghost of its former self. After a decade of being known as the music streaming app to have, Spotify has expanded to podcasts and audiobooks, which take up valuable real estate on the homepage. Discovering new music from your favorite artists is more of a hassle than ever, while a bunch of useless and unnecessary content pops into your face.

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Another unnecessary feature is Spotify's TikTok-style videos. Sure, who doesn't love short-form content? But, listening to snippets of full albums a la TikTok ruins the art of music, and is likely something that nobody uses - if I like the first few songs, I'll listen to an album.

That's not to say that Spotify doesn't have good ideas. The yearly Spotify Wrapped is a neat way of celebrating your year of listening to music, and almost gamifies and challenges you to listen to more music than your friends and family. It's such a great idea, plenty of companies have copied it, including the likes of Apple Music, all the way to gaming companies like Steam and PlayStation.

However, the rest of the new features just seem like unnecessary garbage that only makes the experience more fiddly to use. A horrible interface (filled with the aforementioned podcasts and audiobooks), Spotify's AI DJ (fun, but not essential), and limited skips for free users feels awful, and Spotify isn't keen on taking any feedback.

To make matters worse, it's also being left behind. Many streaming services, including Tidal and Apple Music, are offering Lossless options for the best quality music, the latter even offering it as part of the standard subscription. For years, Spotify Hi-FI / Spotify Supremium was announced over three years ago... and it's still not available.

As a personal anecdote, I was a Spotify subscriber from the age of 12. I regularly used the app for thousands of hours, enjoying the huge library on offer. As I went to college, I switched to the Student membership, I used my included bonuses with the mobile plans on it, I was hooked. Until the past few years, where I've moved to Apple Music - primarily due to using an iPhone, but mainly, because I was fed up of no Lossless and the surge of useless features that Spotify keep flooding the app with.

I still have the Spotify app downloaded on any phone I get, even if I don't use it. Maybe it's familiarity, maybe it's the hope that Spotify will one day realise that "huh, maybe users just want a simple music-listening app with good Quality of Life features", but I doubt it will happen. The ensh*tification of beloved apps is bound to happen, and it seems like Spotify's reign is slowly coming to a crashing end, much like the music-pirating apps before it did.

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