Spotify’s new app design splits up music and podcasts

Spotify has been working on a new design for its home tab that will create separate feeds for your music and your podcasts. The company says it’s part of an effort to give you more and better recommendations, but it also addresses a common criticism of the Spotify experience: with every kind of audio smushed together in the app, it can sometimes be hard to figure out.

The new home feed, which is rolling out now for Android users and is coming to iOS “in the near future,” actually doesn’t look that different at first glance. But up at the top of the screen are two new buttons: one for Music and one for Podcasts & Shows. Tapping one of those will take you into separate feeds. Music will show you suggestions based on what you’ve been listening to, while Podcasts & Shows will surface the latest episodes of your favorite shows plus recommendations for new ones. They’re not so much new home screens as new filters for your home screen. (I’d rather just have them be separate tabs altogether, but I’ll take what I can get.)

The change looks particularly useful for podcast listeners, since it turns Spotify into something much closer to an actual podcast app. It’s been oddly difficult until now to just open Spotify and find a podcast to listen to; Spotify mostly chose to intermingle podcasts and music, relegating your podcast feed to a playlist called “New Episodes.” The company seems to be endlessly redesigning its Library page, but the home screen has stayed the same in recent years.

Now podcasts are much more front and center, which is a win for listeners but also an indication of how important podcasts are to Spotify. As the company looks desperately for ways to make money from audio, it has invested heavily in becoming the biggest podcasting player on the market. It’s making a big push into video, too, which also figures to be the sort of feature that needs a dedicated space in the app. (And let’s not even get into audiobooks, which are a whole different sort of audio product and will be even harder to integrate into Spotify.)

Part of Spotify’s whole plan to dominate audio has been to bring everything — from music to books to podcasts to live audio — all into a single place. That’s a tricky UI problem, and one the company hasn’t always gotten right. In this case, it looks like giving things their own space is the right call. And it gives Spotify lots and lots of new ways to try to get you listening to Joe Rogan and the rest of its pods.

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