This project is a work in progress, check back for updates!

Music Streaming

UX/UI Case Study

Based on the findings of flutes made about 42,000 years ago, archaeologists know that music has been a critical aspect of the human experience since the very beginning. While its style, format, and structure have changed immensely over the millennia, it remains one of the most universal elements of life to this day. In recent years there has been a significant shift in the way people listen; music streaming, which now accounts for 80% of the music industry's total revenue.

The Problem

Not only do people like different music, they listen to it in different ways. Some prefer to listen to full albums rather than playlists, some like exploring new music while others stick to their favorite artists, and some have even switched from music completely and spend much more time listening to podcasts instead. These variables make designing a comprehensive streaming app quite the undertaking. 

Enter two of the most divisive apps on the market: Apple Music and Spotify. Both platforms take a similar approach to providing a positive listening experience but each receive their fair share of criticism from users, and for difference reasons. The purpose of this project is to find what users like and dislike about each app and design a new streaming app that meets the needs of users from both platforms.


To learn which questions I needed to ask, I explored each app and made a list of the different features, pages, and organizational systems I encountered. I then made a short survey asking users about their general music listening habits, which platform they use, and how they interact with that platform's main features. I also asked users open-ended questions about what they like and don't like about their app of choice as well as what features they wish it had.

Being split into 5 separate tabs, Apple Music's features were much wider and shallower
Spotify only has three tabs, so many features were somewhat buried within other features/menus

Thanks to some strategic reddit posting, I received nearly 1,400 responses on my survey, solidifying the reliability of my metrics and providing thousands of useful notes about both apps. These results will help me getting a greater understanding of my user and help me develop personas as I move forward in the research and design processes. The first part of the survey provided general information about my users' listening habits.

More specific to my project, I also compared how users interact with their platform of choice. I asked users how they sort their music, where they spent the most time within their app, and other pertinent questions.

The For You tab in Apple Music roughly equates to the Home tab in Spotify in terms of content/functionality
Spotify does not have an option to see all your saved songs together
While the Spotify desktop app has more obvious social features, both mobile apps hide them behind several layers of menus
The most drastic difference so far, potentially due to Apple Music being newer (and more tied to Apple products unlike Spotify which is almost entire cross-platform)

While these metrics gave me helpful insight into how users spent their time within each app, I wanted to know more how users interact (or want to be able to interact) with the apps more qualitatively. Perhaps the most practical data came from the following questions.

Apple Music

Why users use Apple Music instead of Spotify

Users' complaints about Apple Music:

Features users want in Apple Music:


Why users use Spotify instead of Apple Music

Users' complaints about Spotify:

Features users want in Spotify:

Based on the thousands of free response insights I received in conjunction with the data trends, two things were clear:

1. Users don't like to be presented with features they don't use or content they aren't interested in
2. Almost all of the requested features for both apps are reasonably simple and a majority are present in other apps

Now the question was how to design an app that met the following criteria:

Finding Solutions

I am currently analyzing possible solutions within the context of my identified problems. Updates soon to come!

Go To Next Project