Spotify is Broken

I have tried to refrain myself from critiquing Spotify. Software is hard. I know. I have done it for more than a decade. Alongside tech, the human component can make small issues spiral out of control. However, it’s difficult to empathise if I look at Spotify through the lens of a regular consumer.

I have two main issues with the Spotify app for iOS:

  1. Podcasts that have video, are beyond broken when going from foreground (seeing the video) and background (just sound) and vice-versa. It either stops and I have to wait for it to download content, or crashes. The latter happens sometimes, the former much often. On my runs, I am now afraid to unlock the phone, because I know if Spotify is open, it will likely stop playing the podcast. Usually force quitting the app is the only sensible approach to fix this issue. Besides these problems, it no longer knows where I stopped watching, so I can resume somewhere else. For example, if I listen for 30 minutes on my iPhone and then want to continue the video on my Mac, it won’t remember where I left off. These are low hanging fruits and basic functionality. These things should just work.
  2. It often deletes, or forgets albums I downloaded to later listen while offline. So to my surprise today, while I was flying, I didn’t have anything available to listen to. I know that I should have, since I have been through this process many times in the past.

I have some experience in big companies. I am aware that adding more bodies to a problem usually make it worst. I am confident that there are dozens of skilled engineers working at Spotify. I know that they deeply care about the product and want to do the right thing. I also believe that they have to go through so much red tape, that it’s preferable to not make too much noise and keep their heads down. This sentiment is recurrent from my own experience and from others testimonies. The effort of fixing something that is somewhat outside your team’s scope, is simply too much. And even if someone goes through the trouble, these initiatives usually are not appreciated by their managers. You do what’s part of your team and move along.

I hope they get their shit together.