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Spotify Discovery & Organization


2.5 months

My Role

Literature Review, User Research, Survey, User Interviews


Hey Marvin

Project Overview
Research Project

Goal - Improve research skills (survey questions, interviews, synthesizing information)

Research Topic - Investigate Spotify's user experience regarding:
(1) how users discover music selections

(2) how users organize music selections

Research Approach

Literature Review Takeaways

  • Reviewed literature on Discovery, Organization, and Sharing

    • Lack of research and documentation on sharing

  • Users discover new music based on various Spotify features or by searching for songs on their own (Discover Weekly, Release Radar, etc.)

  • Users like to organize playlists based on activity


Potential improvements to Spotify include:

  • A more nuanced feedback system that would enhance its algorithm.

  • A song feedback system where users can easily rank songs that are suggested could allow Spotify more insights and accuracy to the song recommendations made to the user.

Survey Overview

Duration: 4 days

Methodology: Convenience and Snowball Sampling


75 responses of which 63 participants were active Spotify users

Survey Questions

  1. Screener – How often do you use Spotify to listen to music?

  2. Background – How often do you access Spotify?

  3. Background - Which Spotify subscription plan do you use?

  4. Discovery - Think of the last time you found new music on Spotify, describe your experience? (e.g how did you find the music? what was difficult?)

  5. Discovery - How frequently do you discover new music on Spotify?

  6. Discovery - How frequently do you use the following Spotify’s features for finding new music?

  7. Discovery - Overall, how satisfied are you with the recommendations that Spotify makes for discovering new music?

  8. Discovery - Rank the following Spotify features, in terms of how accurate you feel it is in discovering new music.(1=Most Accurate, 7=Least Accurate)

  9. Organization - How frequently do you create new playlists on Spotify to organize your music?

  10. Organization - Which of the following ways do you organize your Spotify music by?

  11. Organization - When you add a new song to one of your playlists, how do you decide which playlist it should be included in?

  • Discover Weekly and Related Artists & Songs were two of the most accurate in discovering new music

  • Most participants organize music by Liked Songs, Genre, Mood, or Activity.

  • “Based on the feeling or activity that I think the song would be suitable for. For instance, upbeat music for a workout playlist.”

Survey Key Takeaways

User Interviews Overview

5 interviews each interview was 30 minutes


  • Zoom - virtual meeting platform

  • Hey Marvin - transcription tool


  • Algorithm and Recommendation Issues

    • Users face difficulty with the recommendations Spotify makes, finding the suggested songs mostly inaccurate. Recommended songs are often include the same songs.

  • Lack of Personalization

    • Users have expressed that they often receive random songs that they do not desire, indicating a lack of personalization in the song recommendations.


  • Creating Playlists

    • Users create their own playlists on Spotify based on genre, language, activity, and mood. Users occasionally start new playlists when others become outdated.

  • Managing Playlists

    • Users manage their playlists by adding or removing songs. They may arrange the songs in a specific order for events or parties. They sometimes remove songs if they feel it belongs in a different playlist.

  • Self-Created Playlists

    • Users prefer to create their own playlists rather than using Spotify generated playlists. They feel that most often Spotify playlists don't align with their music preferences or the vibe they are going for.

User Interview

User Map


Find new music

  • Users tend to find music on a social media platform

  • They use Spotify to listen to the music and add it to playlists

Create a Playlist

  • Users create playlists often by finding a song first and then they subsequently add more songs to the playlist

User Persona


Spotify Areas of Improvement

Improvements for Discovering Music  

  • Discover Playlists could be placed more prominent on the homepage or home screen of the app

  • Reintroducing the thumbs up and thumbs down feature for recommended songs would help provide feedback for songs

  • Enhancing the AI system to scan playlists and suggest similar songs based on their most recent listen could provide more accurate recommendations to users.

Improvements in Organizing Music

  • Spotify could improve their personalized playlists by using pattern recognition to analyze user’s organization and listening habits.

  • Spotify could also allow users to customize what is shown to them and ensuring consistency in recommendations

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