My iPhone’s screen time alert is going to hate this.
If you’ve been paying attention to the tech ecosystem for the last few years, this isn’t hugely surprising. TikTok is massive and everyone wants a piece of the action. And for Spotify, more people staring at the app for longer periods of time is almost surely a good thing in this engagement-obsessed world. But that doesn’t mean I have to like it.
Spotify’s big update (which, thankfully, hasn’t hit my phone yet) is more than just added inconvenience. It totally misunderstands what Spotify should be for: Listening.
Pivot to video
Whenever your phone receives the big Spotify patch, you’ll be greeted with a new world of video podcasts and short snippets of things you might want to engage with later. The first and most important point of contention here is that Spotify is the last place I’d go if I wanted to watch videos.
I’ve been a steady Spotify user for more than a decade. It’s one of my most-used apps because it’s one of the only things that doesn’t contribute to that dreaded screen time alert. Unlike many apps, which want you to look at them as much as possible, Spotify allowed me to enjoy it passively. I could put on a playlist or a podcast and look away from my phone for a couple of hours while still getting something out of it.
Sure, you have to open the app and feed more screen time to your eyeballs every now and then, but it’s a fundamentally different experience from almost anything else you can do on a smartphone. This new version instead wants to be like every other app.
All it takes is a
I mean, I use Spotify to listen to podcasts, but this next one isn’t wrong.
And among all the complaints, you’ll see plenty of people threatening to leave Spotify for another app.
The point here is that I’m not alone. Spotify, for more than a decade, has been about listening. Throw something on, sit back, and drown in your favorite jams or that true crime podcast you can’t pull yourself away from. Heck, you can even use it while you sleep!
Resistant to change
Of course, you’ll still technically be able to do all of that, even with the update. It’s important not to get too carried away while hating something new and weird. There’s always the possibility that the new Spotify doesn’t make me recoil in horror as much as I think it might, and I have to account for that.
That said, I don’t want to spend my precious time on this planet avoiding digital landmines just to get to my songs and podcasts. This bevy of video content could theoretically interrupt something I’m listening to, or further degrade my precious phone battery. And as I’ve already laid out, I don’t go to Spotify to watch things.
I understand the temptation to imitate TikTok. I really do, even if I’m a cranky old man who doesn’t like to use that particular app. But in a time when most of us can agree that we look at our phones too much already, and that doing so probably isn’t good for us, it’s both bothersome and concerning that Spotify is going in this direction. After all, the
Where does this end? Five years from now, will Spotify even primarily be a music-listening app? I dunno, but Apple Music seems real enticing right now.