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Music Streaming Comparison

Updated: Apr 8, 2020



About the project: This class project was done to compare 3 popular music streaming services when it comes to how users interact with them when it comes to selecting and listening to music. It took a semester long to gather both quantitative and qualitative data.


My Responsibilities: Creating questions for the surveys and focus group, recruiting participants and analyzing results.




The Problem

Spotify has been the leader in the music streaming industry since 2006. Since then many other services joined to create some competition on how we consume our music, an example of two that will be the main topic of this research is Tidal and Apple Music. 


This research is interesting because being a huge music lover, I wanted to find out is Spotify really that much better than Tidal and Apple Music? Do people know other services exist? Also how do users of these services consume music in the same fashion? 


How the research was approach?

In the research we decided to use both qualitative and quantitative methods to gather data.

For the qualitative data we designed questions to be used for our focus group (pictured below). 


In the research, we had to think like a consumer and figure out how are we going to extract the data needed to help answer our questions. Also this research required that we be very familiar with the services and the features they offered. Also noting the differences between them and what they offer.

Next for the Quantitative portion, we utilized Qualtrics survey creating software to design a survey we could distribute on social media and to classmates. This was made be mobile friendly which helped tremendously in gathering data.

In our survey, we came up with 25 questions in total but they were all very similar to retain consistency, but organized by streaming service used. 

When users agreed to take the survey they were first asked to read and provide consent. This provided consent for their data to be used for research. Then they were presented with 3 sets of questions (pictured below)




If the user answered A lot, Sometimes or Rarely they were presented with questions relating to that particular streaming service. If never is selected then no questions for the service is presented. Doing this made the survey shorter so we could gain specific data for the particular serviced we were evaluating. 


A sample of the survey questions asked ( for Spotify)


Survey Sample:

 Q1 How often do you use Spotify?

o A lot  (1)

o Sometimes  (2)

o Rarely  (3)

o Never  (4)

Q4 The way music is managed on Spotify makes searching for music…

o Simple  (1)

o Somewhat Simple  (2)

o Somewhat Difficult  (3)

o Difficult  (4)

 Q10 In Spotify, how often do you listen to…

 Q13 In Spotify, how often do you save…

 Q16 In Spotify, how often do you follow artists?

o A lot  (1)

o Sometimes  (2)

o Rarely  (3)

o Never  (4)

The questions were similar to each other so an accurate comparison could be made. At the end of the survey we created a general question which could help us understand more on what features users preferred to use (shown below). 



Using this scale it helped determine what features users of a specific streaming service were important. This scale provided some interesting data for the project. 


Analyzing the data

Analyzing the data gathered took several different methods . First the focus group was used to guide what features we should potentially measure. In focus group users used playlist function quite a bit, so we wanted to investigate to see if what streaming service dictated how users listen.

In the analysis we chose playlist, albums and individual tracks to measure and see if one particular service influenced how users listen. Qualtrics data was downloaded and then uploaded to Google Sheets. Bar graphs were used to visualize how many users used a particular feature. Using a t.test, it helped determine if data was statistically significant (pictured below).




What did the research show?

Spotify and Tidal users loved their playlists so data was NOT statistically significant. But Apple Music that was the least favorite feature so data WAS statistically significant. In the focus group, users stated Apple Music was difficult to use and did not have an appealing playlist function like Spotify did.

Tidal users are mostly album listeners. They preferred to listen to music in an album form over listening to the latest playlist. Data was statistically significant compared to Spotify and Apple Music.


Recommendations to improve

The focus group was able to help understand issues with Spotify. Spotify is far from perfect when it comes to its UX. Users often had issues with glitches when it came to adding a track and navigating through the interface. but according to a survey that was on Qualtrics it was not the most important aspect for Spotify users (shown below).


As you can see Spotify users preferred playlists, offline listening and content organization which was very interesting. But as a whole User Interface, custom playlists, offline listening and content organization were the majority of the features users preferred to use.


Why is this research important?

This research is important because music streaming is a primary way how we consume music today. It helps to analyze what service would be better for the users needs. If a user is more of an album person Tidal would appeal or if they enjoyed playlists more Spotify would be more for that user.

Also music streaming services need to know where they can improve. Using this data a company can understand how to better improve. Which makes it easier on the product development team.

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