How would you improve Spotify? - Product Improvement
Spotify Product Manager Interview: Product Improvement - How would you improve Spotify?
How to Answer Product Improvement Questions?
Here is a step-by-step framework, you should follow while answering product improvement interview questions during your interview:
0. Pay close attention to the keywords in the question.
1. Describe the Product. (P)
2. Ask clarifying Questions to trim down the scope of the question. (Q)
3. Define the Goal you want to achieve. (G)
4. List the User Segments and select one segment to focus on. (U)
5. List and prioritize the Pain Points for that segment. (P)
6. List out your Solutions to solve those pain points. (S)
7. Evaluate all the solutions and prioritize them. (E)
8. Define Metrics to measure the performance of the solutions. (M)
9. At the end, Summarize your answer (S)
(PQ-GUP-SEMS) -> Mnemonic to help you remember the steps & their order.
Let’s get started with the solution (remember to follow the framework),
Step 1: Describe the Product (P)
Once, you are clear with the question, start by explaining your understanding of the product. Cover the following things about the product,
What does the product do?
Who uses it?
How are they using it?
What pain point is it solving for the users?
Spotify is a popular global audio streaming platform that provides users with access to an extensive library of music, podcasts, and other audio content. The service is designed to offer users the ability to listen to their desired audio content at any time and from anywhere in the world. The content available on Spotify is provided by individual artists and creators, as well as through aggregators and syndicated deals brokered by Spotify.
It operates as a marketplace, with artists and creators on one side, fans on the other, and brands in the mix. The platform's subscription model drives most of its revenue, but it also offers a freemium version supported by advertising for non-subscribers.
The company's mission is to "unlock the potential of human creativity – by giving a million creative artists the opportunity to live off their art and billions of fans the opportunity to enjoy and be inspired by it."
It's core features include a vast music catalogue, an intuitive user experience, and affordable pricing plans. However, what sets Spotify apart is its constant innovation through design, social features, and recommendation engines that power the discovery of new music and other audio content.
Spotify's recommendation engines are especially noteworthy, as they allow users to discover new artists and content based on their listening habits and preferences. The platform's algorithm analyzes a user's listening history and provides personalized recommendations that are tailored to their interests. This feature has made Spotify a go-to platform for music lovers who want to discover new artists and genres.
Spotify can be accessed from a desktop web, desktop app, mobile web, and mobile app (Android, IOS).
Some of the major competitors of Spotify are Apple Music, Amazon Music, Tidal, YouTube Music, SoundCloud, JioSaavn, Gaana, Wynk Music, Deezer, Hungama etc.
Step 2. Ask clarifying questions to narrow the scope. (Q)
Q) What goal of improvement here? Improve user engagement? Increase user retention? Increase revenue? Acquire more users and content? Improve Studio/Artist or user experience on the App?
A) It’s up to you. You are free to choose.
Q) What is the target audience for these improvements? Artists, Advertisers/Brands, or Fans? Premium subscribers or non-subscribers?
A) It’s up to you to choose.
Q) Are we focussing on any particular platform like desktop web/app or mobile web/app?
A) All Platforms.
Q) For the improvement, are we focusing on a Global audience or a specific region?
A) It’s up to you to choose.
Q) Why are we thinking about improvements now? Is this in response to a competitor initiative or industry event?
A) Spotify has recently faced criticism for minimally compensating artists and giving them less autonomy.
Step 3. Define the Goal you want to achieve. (G)
As previously mentioned, Spotify's mission is to unlock the potential of human creativity by providing a platform for creative artists to share their work and for fans to enjoy and be inspired by it.
One of the key metrics that determines the success of this mission is user engagement, which is measured by the number of minutes of songs streamed per user per day.
Spotify faces competition from other streaming services such as SoundCloud, Apple Music, Amazon Music, and YouTube Music. Therefore, it's important for Spotify to keep its users engaged and provide a unique experience that sets it apart from its competitors. Higher engagement leads to more users, which in turn attracts more artists and studios to the platform. This creates a flywheel effect that drives an increase in streams, and ultimately, revenue.
Step 4. List the User Segments and choose one segment to focus on. (U)
Broadly, Spotify users can be divided into,
Spotify's user base can be divided into different segments, and one of the most important segments is the group of artists who create content for the platform. These artists are at the core of Spotify's mission, as the platform was originally built to help them gain exposure and reach a wider audience.
Here are two subgroups within this user segment:
Independent Artists: These are artists who create their own content and release it on Spotify without the help of a record label or production company. Independent artists often use Spotify as a platform to build their audience and gain recognition for their work.
Studio-affiliated Artists: These are artists who work with a record label, music studio, or production company to create and release their content on Spotify. These artists may have more resources and support in creating their music, but they still rely on Spotify to distribute their content and reach a wider audience.
Listeners on Spotify can be segmented in a variety of ways, based on their usage patterns, context, music preferences, and more.
Based on the Context:
One common way to segment Spotify listeners is based on their usage, which can be broken down into two categories:
Casual Listener: This type of user only uses Spotify occasionally, doesn't mind ads, and listens to music and podcasts on a sporadic basis. Spotify would want to engage these users more to convert them into more active listeners and potential paying subscribers.
Power User: This type of user is highly engaged, with multiple playlists and a love for Spotify's social features. They dislike ads and appreciate the ability to listen to music across multiple devices, as well as the extensive library of songs and podcasts available. Retaining these users is key for Spotify, as they can serve as ambassadors for the platform and potentially help acquire new customers through family subscriptions and referrals.
Based on the Context:
Another way to segment Spotify users is based on the context in which they listen to music. Here are some examples:
Work Listeners: These are users who listen to music while working or studying to help them focus and improve productivity.
Gym Listeners: These are users who listen to music while working out at the gym to keep them motivated and energized during their workout.
Group Listeners: These are users who listen to music with friends or family, often during social gatherings or events.
Sleep Listeners: These are users who listen to music as they wind down for the night, using it to help them relax and fall asleep.
Relaxation Listeners: These are users who listen to music to unwind and de-stress, often while engaging in activities such as meditation or yoga.
Motivational Listeners: These are users who listen to music to boost their mood and motivation, often choosing upbeat or inspiring songs to help them stay focused and positive.
Based on the Context:
Spotify users can also be segmented based on their music preferences. Here are some examples of user segments based on music taste:
Pop Music Fans: These users enjoy listening to popular, mainstream music, often featuring catchy hooks and upbeat rhythms.
Hip-Hop Fans: These users enjoy listening to hip-hop and rap music, often featuring hard-hitting beats and lyrics that focus on themes such as social justice and personal struggle.
Rock Music Fans: These users enjoy listening to various sub-genres of rock music, including classic rock, alternative, and indie rock.
Electronic Music Fans: These users enjoy listening to various forms of electronic music, including techno, house, and trance.
Country Music Fans: These users enjoy listening to country music, often featuring themes such as love, heartbreak, and life in rural America.
Classical Music Fans: These users enjoy listening to classical music, including works by famous composers such as Beethoven and Mozart.
World Music Fans: These users enjoy listening to music from different cultures around the world, such as African drumming, Indian classical music, or Latin American salsa.
Another way to segment users on Spotify is based on their role as advertisers. In this case, there are two main segments:
Big Brands: These are large companies with significant marketing budgets who are looking to advertise their products or services to a wide audience. They may use Spotify's ad targeting features to reach specific demographics or geographic regions, and may also partner with Spotify to create branded content or sponsored playlists.
Small Businesses: These are smaller companies or local businesses who may have more limited marketing budgets but still want to reach a targeted audience through Spotify's platform. They may use Spotify's self-serve ad platform to create and manage their own campaigns, or work with third-party ad agencies to help them create and optimize their ads.
Out of the different user groups, I believe that it is important to focus on improving the product for the Artist user group. This is because any improvements made in this area will result in more original content being available on Spotify. By having a greater variety of quality content, Spotify can attract more listeners, thus reducing acquisition costs.
Additionally, if budding artists are able to create world-class content based on their talent and the user preference data that Spotify has collected over the years, this could improve user engagement and conversion rates. As Spotify's mission is to help these budding artists live off their art, it is important to address any pain points they may be experiencing. By doing so, Spotify can further differentiate itself from competitors such as Apple Music and YouTube.