It makes perfect sense that Spotify would chase TikTok.
TikTok is what all the kids love and so of course every major brand here is trying to get a slice of that highly sought after market, but Spotify’s new redesign with videos and a vertical scroll mimicking the wildly popular social media app favored Gen -Z will fail just as surely as Spotify will try anyway. We’ve seen this story play out a thousand times before, and it doesn’t get any less sad by repetition.
It’s the sort of thing that’s so transparently lame that Gen-Z will no doubt shrug it off if it doesn’t roundly laugh at it, and all Spotify is doing in this attempt is to risk offending the people who actually use the music service. to alienate.
I’m not saying Spotify can’t try something new, it absolutely should, but let’s put the emphasis on it new.
Kids are not going to use a boomer music app
Whether it’s Instagram or Spotify, every legacy tech company is having pretty much a midlife crisis right now and buying the proverbial sports car on the premise that this is what will make them young and attractive again, and TikTok is definitely to blame.
There’s something about a new app coming onto the scene to steal away the hearts and minds and screen time of a highly sought-after 12- to 18-year-old demographic to make an old app question its own. Apps, like people, hate the feeling of time running out.
I, too, have felt the sting of no longer being the young millennial who seemed to know what the latest trends were. But the only thing worse than hearing 1996’s Doom being called a Boomer Shooter by a 14-year-old is talking to that 14-year-old like I was one of their cohorts.
And that’s what all these tech companies pivoting to TikTokify are doing themselves, at its core, and kids can smell the poser reeking of the effort half a world away. Gen Z is married to TikTok and no company is shaking them up no matter how much they try.
Change is good, but not like this
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with shaking things up, and redesigns can be great. New UI experiences can streamline a service and give your user base more of what it wants, and there’s always the appeal of a new look.
Spotify even has a real reason to make the necessary changes. It’s expanded far beyond just a music streaming app, and changes to the UI are therefore certainly warranted.
But change should be driven by need, and an all-new redesign should come from the needs of the existing user base, not an attempt to completely capture another. I can tell you that many existing users will absolutely hate the new design and may go elsewhere. Apple Music doesn’t pull this sort of thing.
So all Spotify is doing is risking existing users to dress up as the Steve Buscemi meme.
Change has to come from within if it is going to work
The strangest thing about the whole TikTok obsession is that there are plenty of social media and tech companies that already have incredibly strong brands.
As much as we’ve tried to get away from it over the past few months, nothing really beats Twitter and Spotify has an equally strong brand ID. Why risk throwing that away to be a TikTok clone for Zoomers to point to as they roll their eyes from the backseat of the car?
Spotify should work within that structure to find the necessary change it will inevitably have to make, as that ultimately has the greatest chance of success. No, you might not win over the Gen Z crowd, but Spotify never would.
Build a strong enough brand and eventually many Gen Z’ers will migrate to Spotify over time when TikTok no longer meets their needs – or when another upstart app comes on the scene and wins over how the younger brothers and sisters of Gen Z are also called and TikTok is turning its entire business interface upside down to chase that app audience.
Hopefully, Spotify and other tech brands will have learned to age gracefully by then, just like the rest of us.