There are a lot of things Apple and Spotify can do to improve their streaming music services, but trying to encourage more discovery is the most salient.
The biggest “problem” with both Apple Music and Spotify remains discoverability. How do you take the world’s collection of music, and boil it down so that people don’t feel overwhelmed? After all, people are paying for 30 million+ songs, they want to move beyond just the handful of albums they listen to regularly.
Listen to more music
There’s curated playlists (think Spotify’s Discover Weekly) or dedicated radio (think Beats 1 internet radio station), but still, people need more help finding new music to listen to–especially in certain moments.
The answer is to continually let people know when artists they’ve liked in the past, do new things in the future. From there, you can branch people out to similar artists and bring in music around activities. First, though, you have to create the habit in people to want new music–and look for it.
If you’ve added an artist, album, or song to your library there’s a 99-percent chance you want to know when that artist puts out new music. This should be very obvious to everyone, but it’s not quite yet.
Apple does have this feature buried in the “For You” section of its music app, but it’s still limited. Record Bird is a good example of an app that already does this and do it really well too. Record Bird will let you know when artists you follow put out music videos, do interviews, or release new music.
Beyond some of those simpler items, it would be great to see more sophisticated algorithms as well. Keeping track of artists you’ve listened to more than once, but never included in your library. Or, artists your friends have listened to, which are similar to artists you do have in your library.
Once a streaming music service has covered all the items it can guarantee you’ll like, it can move on to more educated guesses about things it’s not sure about. Since streaming music services make their money from recurring revenue, it’s important to keep providing that recurring value to customers. Increasing discoverability is probably the easiest thing a service can do.