By Akiyah Brown
Earlier this month, Spotify held its, “Stream On” presentation to discuss changes happening within Spotify in the upcoming year. Spotify CEO Daniel Ek revealed that the streaming service would be seeing significant changes in the form of a vertical feed. The new feed will be a TikTok-like infinite vertical scroll featuring video and audio previews of music, podcasts and audiobooks. Spotify’s co-president Gustav Söderström states that this big change to Spotify’s design is to help users discover new content to listen to easier. Despite the change being to help fans find new artists easier, and the biggest change to Spotify in a decade, the reactions to this new UI have been mostly negative. People immediately took to social media to discuss their confusion and frustration with the change. Users are referring to this change in design as the “TikTokification,” of Spotify.
“TikTokification” is a term that has been used for quite some time to describe the changing landscape of social media. In short, the word is used to describe how the internet, mainly social media apps, are adapting to become more like TikTok. These adaptations can consist of adding new features or completely changing the design and algorithms to mimic the style of TikTok. Platforms like YouTube, Instagram and Facebook have all released their versions of infinite scrolling short-form content.
It’s no wonder that other social media platforms are trying to compete with TikTok, as it’s one of the largest social media platforms as of right now. Since its release in 2016, and being launched internationally in 2017, it currently sees around 1 billion monthly active users. TikTok’s immense popularity has also caused multiple concerns regarding cybersecurity and mental health. So much so that Tik Tok announced it would set a daily screen time limit for all users under 18 to try and fix the latter issue.
Some people feel that the rising popularity of TikTok is having negative effects on social media and other platforms. When people first heard about the changes to Spotify, most of them were asking why an audio streaming service would even need to look and act like TikTok. Already, Spotify was a popular and well-loved service. Its yearly Spotify wrapped round up is consistently one of the most anticipated trends on the internet. Besides, most people do not keep the app open, so why was there even a need to implement a digital feed?
Most of the questions can be answered with Spotify’s desire to compete with TikTok, as the app also has a huge impact on the music industry. Most of the platforms victim to TikTokification seemed to do it to create competition; but with talks of TikTok being banned in the United States, other people speculate that the platforms are becoming this way to fill the TikTok-shaped void in people’s hearts if these bans go through.
Apps changing their models to mimic that of TikTok in an attempt to bring in more users often ends up in frustration for existing users. It is also believed that TikTokification is causing a lack of creativity and innovation in the tech world, with people fearing that all their favorite social media apps will one day be just TikTok clones.
As of now, despite the criticism, Spotify is moving forward with its plans for their update. Spotify execs have yet to comment on the backlash.
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