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[spotify] Spotify Engineering Culture (pt. 1)


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I highly recommend watching this video:

…but in a nutshell:

Tribes, Squads, Chapters and Guilds

Squad: Primary dimension focused on product delivery and quality. Each squad has 100% autonomy to deploy.

Chapter: Groups of Squad members that share competencies (ex. quality assistance, web development, agile coaching)

Tribe: Light-weight matrix comprised of Squads

Guild: Light-weight community of interest where groups gather to share interest knowledge (ex. leadership)


Each Squad has full autonomy regarding how it goes about delivering its long and short term goals. When a set of delivery practices/framework works particularly well, this methodology can, and should, spread to other Squads that can make use of them.

Alignment x Autonomy

-Alignment, – Autonomy = No leadership and no motivation
-Alignment, +Autonomy = Chaos
+Alignment, -Autonomy = Bossy bosses and demotivated employees
+Alignment, +Autonomy = Spotify!

Small/Frequent Delivery

Through test automation and continuous deployment infrastructure, Spotify stays true to the fundamentals of the Lean Startup. Furthermore, through decoupled releases (modularizing Spotify’s architecture into feature frames), each Squad can deploy with minimal bureaucracy and timing conflicts with other Squads. Finally, through feature toggles (deploying features regardless of how ready they are, but being able to turn them on or off), Spotify can conduct testing on the go as opposed to delay releases.

My 2 cents:

No fear, no trust, no politics. Spotify took the Lean Startup one step further by staying true to fundamental concepts such as continuous releases, smaller batch sizes and autonomous teams, but introduces a cross-functional element that accelerates the dissemination of learnings that is equally key to the Lean Startup model. Spotify is a key example of tech organization at its most spontaneous and focused, but it is also an example that the revolutionary ideals of the Lean Startup are becoming more the foundation of tech culture, being consistently improved by conceptual “add-ons.”

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[apple] Apple Music vs. Spotify Premium


Apple Music gets to 10 million subscribers in 6 months, when it took 6 years for Spotify.

The last time Spotify announced numbers was in June of 2015. At that time it had 20 million subscribers, up from 10 million a year prior. If Spotify’s growth was faster than ever in the second half of 2015, then it added more than 5 million new users over the last six months of the year.

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So, for now Spotify has a much bigger lead than Apple. But, Apple has an advantage being the default music app that ships with every single iPhone. That will continue to drive subscriber growth, posing a challenge for Spotify.

Another thing working in Spotify’s advantage: Its app is critically acclaimed. Apple’s music app has been dismissed by critics.

Also, Apple Music was immediately available to millions of people via millions of devices when it launched in late June. In fact, Apple had more trial subscribers in August (11 million) than it has right now (10 million). And Apple Music is free to try for three full months, so it doesn’t really feel like you’re paying for a new service right off the bat — Apple will quietly charge Apple Music’s $9.99 monthly fee once the free trial ends unless you opt out.

Apple Music is not a terrible music service, but as an Apple product, it’s subpar and nowhere near where it should be in terms of intuitiveness and functionality. Its “For You” feature needs to be revamped, and its “Connect” feature should be eliminated entirely. Its “New” section should also do a better job at highlighting artists or genres you (might) like.

In general, it all needs work. But having a big subscription base of 10+ million ought to help Apple figure out which features to add, subtract and change over time.

My 2 cents:

Here’s a battle to watch in 2016/2017. Will the popular Spotify make good on its learning curve advantage and outlast Apple Music’s “baked in” and “opt out” approach with the successful Discover, Year in Music, You Found it First features? My 2 cents? Apple needs to fix its bugs on its predictive algorithms and simplify the general display to encourage greater Spotify conversions. The baked-in argument relies on this revamping, but that still leaves the entire Android world buying into Spotify along with millions of user’s reaping the benefits of historical musical data that Spotify so accurately analyzes.

Full article: Apple v Spotify

Full article: Subscription Battle

Full article: Spotify Grows

[spotify] Musicians Will Be Able To Use Spotify To Find Out Details About Their Audience

Spotify announced Tuesday that it would release its user data to artists, record labels, and their employees through its Fan Insights portal. This allows musicians to discover exactly who their audience is, what they like, and how to deliver more of it.
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Spotify originally said it would collect information stored on mobile devices, including contacts, media files, and location data. The company amended its stance in an apology statement that emphasized users’ rights to opt out of data collection and clarified that all data would be anonymized and used to enhance the music-listening experience — specifically by sharing the information with third-party partners and advertisers.

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