album booklets in spotify
project at kth royal institute of technology
2021, Remote


Primarily based on in-depth interviews with up-and-coming artists and supplemented by additional methods, we designed the album booklets feature in Spotify as they constitute a formerly important and valuable form of expression for artists as well as an opportunity for deeper engagement with an album for serious listeners and fans.

We believe this would provide artists with an additional tool to promote their music between releases (e.g. on creative breaks) which we identified as an important theme during our analysis.


responsibility
Iterated throughout the entire feature design cycle remotely, utilised different design methods, and designed the app prototype with teammates while considering Spotify's branding and business needs. Focused and responsible for mainly the listeners' aspect but also kept the benefits for artists in mind.

tools
Figma, Miro

results
Grade
Excellent (P)

Examiner Feedback
"Your thoughts on the 'how might we' statements are particularly interesting, and something I will bring to next year's teaching, so thank you. I think the depth of the design work you have undertaken is impressive."

"The prototype itself is sleek, fits perfectly into the branding of Spotify and very much feels like a real part of the tool. I think the interactions are minimal and this serves to make the design also equitable across musicians and artists, so it is nice to see that value come out clearly in your work. Very well done."

credits
Group Members
Jason Huang, Christoph Johns, Rita Nordström & Simon Sundin







Started from an interest in artists’ connection to and interaction with their audience, especially from the perspective of up-and-coming artists and regarding the artist page on Spotify, we conducted Semi-structured Interviews with a wide range of different musicians distributing their music on the platform.

Based on interviews findings and additional researches into the problem area, including Literature Search, Product, Communities, and Forums Reviews, we identified the major themes with Affinity Diagram and led to the problem statement:
Up-and-coming artists need to be able to succinctly express their own identity on Spotify because Spotify is currently focussed on distribution instead of expression.

This problem was further narrowed down and operationalised into the How Might We question:
How might we translate the experience of an album booklet into a digital format?

With the Worst Possible Ideas, Crazy Eights, Sketches, then User Flows, we created the first prototype of our solution.





problem
After a Cooperative Evaluation with peers, we gained valuable insights especially on a perceived overload of content and lack of navigation within the booklet. We also noted that the attractiveness of the content or the appeal of the artist might influence the perceived value of a booklet.







In the second iteration, we created a multi-tab system where the artist could write their tab names and format the booklet, creating an easier overview instead of a long scrolling booklet. We also created example booklets from scratch that might have felt interesting to read or more closely matches the interests of our test subjects.




reflection
Although a free form canvas-style layout system would provide more flexibility for artists, we learned that a more document-style booklet worked better with the existing Spotify interaction pattern. Also, by adding bands related to the test subjects, we discovered that creating a connection to the prototype seems crucial when letting people try out and get motivated to provide feedback and insights.








We started with a basic User Flows of what the app would contain and to separate the works, we later made a more refined diagram to help ourselves keep track of where everything would be accessible.

As mentioned, I focused mainly on the listeners' aspect, where the Interactable Cards were something valuable during our ideation, especially when combined with the social and shareable feature inspired by Spotify Wrapped, and hence I would love to dig deeper into it.








The previous video and prototype concentrated mainly on the parts more related to my implementation. From a wider perspective, the full version of our proposed design introduces the following core features to the Spotify mobile application:

  • Artists can add supplemental multimedia content to their albums through a block-style WYSIWYG editor. These blocks include, for example, media content (e.g. images, links), Spotify elements (e.g. songs, podcast episodes), cross-selling elements (e.g. merchandise offers, tour dates), social elements (e.g. top highlights, critical reviews), and Spotify-generated user statistics (e.g. similar to "Spotify Wrapped").

  • Artists can promote these booklets and thereby their music through card-style placements on their fans’ home tab.

  • Listeners can access, interact with, and save booklets. The links to these booklets are stored in a new "Booklets" tab in their library.

  • Albums that include booklets are highlighted through a new icon for increased visibility.



full version on figma

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