– Feb. 1st 2022 8:42 am PT
When Spotify Wrapped 2021 launched in December, I had a severe case of FOMO set in as I saw my friends share their listening stats for the year. I decided to take a look at trying Spotify again, in hopes I could join in on the Spotify Wrapped 2022 fun. Unfortunately, despite the advantages Spotify has over Apple Music, there’s one thing I simply can’t overlook …
Before diving into the negatives, I wanted to first quickly touch on the things I did like about Spotify during my two months. First and foremost, Spotify is indeed much faster and more reliable than Apple Music when it comes to loading and searching for music.
Spotify also offers the popular Wrapped feature at the end of every year, which is far more powerful than Apple Music Recap. Its support for friend activity is also better than Apple Music in most regards. Spotify Connect is also an impressive feature for using one device to control Spotify playback remotely on another.
Spotify’s efforts to push into podcasts have been in the headlines recently because of comments raised by a certain guy with a podcast – I think his name is Joe Rogan. My issues with Spotify’s podcasting efforts, however, extend beyond Joe Rogan. Don’t get me wrong, I think much of the backlash against Rogan is fair, and Spotify’s response has been weaker than I’d like, but that’s not why my Spotify experiment is over.
The number one reason my experiment is over is because of Spotify’s absolute insistence that if you use Spotify for music, you must also use it for podcasts. This manifests itself in multiple different ways, one of the most notable being the barrage of podcast recommendations in the “Home” tab of the Spotify app.
If I open the Spotify app on my iPhone right now and see sections for “Shows to try” right at the top as well as recommendations to shows that Spotify thinks I’ve listened to in the past. The funny thing is, if you interact with a podcast a single time in Spotify, it instantly thinks you want to listen to every episode of that podcast – past, present, and future.
Additionally, Spotify will even try and make playlists for you that mix and match podcasts and music. No offense to people who listen to these playlists, but this sounds like an absolutely awful experience to me.
For context, I do listen to podcasts (and host a podcast), but I listen using Overcast on my iPhone, iPad, and Mac. Overcast offers a wide-range of powerful features that have become must-haves for my podcast listening, including different playback speeds, chapters, Smart Speed, and more. Spotify lacks most of these features, instantly making it a non-contender for my podcast app of choice.
From a business perspective, I understand why Spotify is pushing hard into podcasts. The company makes more money through ads when you listen to a podcast than when you listen to music — something that is particularly important for a company struggling to become profitable. Anecdotally, I also personally take issue with Spotify’s business practices in regards to how little it pays music artists and how much it pays for exclusive podcasts, but that’s a topic for another day.
I have other issues with Spotify, including its poor adoption of Apple standards like AirPlay 2, and its poor support for local files. For instance, iCloud Music Library is an amazing feature for Apple Music, allowing you to create custom albums have them in your library across all your Apple devices.
But those are issues I’d be willing to overlook if Spotify simply added a toggle that allowed you to say “I don’t listen to podcasts in Spotify, and I never will.” Until that toggle is added, back to Apple Music I go. Spotify is pushing hard into podcasts, and unfortunately, it’s impacting its core music screaming business.
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