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Published May 19th 2022

The Biggest Pain Points Consumers Have With Music Streaming Services

Music streaming services are more popular than ever. Discover the most common pain points around some of the biggest music streaming services, so you can get ahead of the competition.

The demand for music streaming services has grown significantly since the start of the pandemic. In the second quarter of 2021, worldwide streaming subscriptions grew by a healthy 26.4%.

Music streaming services are almost a requirement in 2022. It’s predicted that, by the end of 2022, over 20% of internet users will actively listen to podcasts. Equally, 90% of workers are more productive when listening to music while working.

With dozens of streaming services on the market, there’s plenty of choice for music lovers. This means streaming services need to stay on top of customer needs to hold their share of the market.

We’ve dug into the data and pulled the key pain points consumers have when it comes to music streaming services. By analyzing consumer preferences, we can discover how these services can attract a wider range of customers.

Finding pain points

We used Consumer Research to create queries for mentions which might indicate a customer pain point. For example, we used phrases like “annoying when” or “I hate” when appearing near the names of popular music streaming services.

We searched for these in public social media posts, blogs, forums, etc from January 2021 to March 2022. This returned around 20,000 mentions. We then broke down the most common words and phrases within those mentions to understand the top complaints.

The main pain points for consumers

For the majority, music streaming services are well-discussed online. But what’s driving the negativity? Here we can find the elements that streaming brands can improve on to potentially hook customers away from the competition.

1. In-app bugs

By far, the biggest pain point for users is problems with platform performance. Buffering songs, broken features, and consistent bugs all fall under this category. Server errors – when a streaming platform goes down completely – is definitely the biggest cause for complaint.

A solid testing effort will solve these problems for most streaming platforms. By having a sturdy app, users are less likely to stumble upon bugs. Equally, having a proper reporting feature for in-app bugs can help to identify problems early. Listening to online conversations is another way to pick up on bugs that need fixing – for example, alerts can be set up to notify stakeholders when there’s an increase in online complaints about app problems.

2. Wrong recommendations

In 2022, users expect their devices to know them better than they know themselves, and their expectations around music streaming platforms are no different. A prevalent pain point sits with music recommendations. For example, if a user is listening to a rock playlist and then they’re recommended pop music, it doesn’t sit well. For others, the annoyance stems from personalized playlists going off-topic and playing different genres.

This pain point cropped up again and again in our research. Music platforms would benefit from tweaking algorithms to ensure recommendations are relevant to the user’s listening habits.

3. Unwanted ads

A common complaint on most online software platforms is the prevalence of ads. Ads are common on streaming platforms, particularly for consumers who don’t pay to subscribe. However, it’s important to strike a balance.

Finding natural breaks in a user’s listening experience is vital to keep engagement high. For example, an ad in the middle of a key moment in a podcast may cause frustration. Equally, playing too many ads is an easy way to invite complaints.

4. Offline use

For most users, music needs to be available everywhere – including offline. A key pain point among listeners is the inability to play songs without WIFI or data connection. Whether they’re on a plane or running low on monthly data allowances, users want to listen regardless.

Music streaming services might benefit from making offline listening easier for users. Whether that’s by introducing features to make it easier, or by educating users on existing features.

5. Unavailability of songs

Users are less likely to have more than one music streaming service, compared to TV and movie streaming. The average American subscriber uses 3.4 video streaming services, while only 21% of music streaming users have more than one service.

With this, music services need to ensure they can act as a one-stop-shop for a user’s listening habits.

A common pain point is a lack of availability for certain songs. Needing to go to a different platform to listen to an artist isn’t appreciated. Maintaining good relationships with artists and content creators is one way to combat this, though that might be easier said than done.

6. The cost of music services

Most music-lovers understand that streaming services can’t be free. However, overpriced services are definitely not appreciated. Often, these complaints are linked to in-app bugs or server errors. When experiencing a bug, a user is less likely to think the platform is worth the cost.

Investing in app infrastructure is an important way to ensure users are getting value for money. 

The bottom line

Music streaming services are only growing in popularity. With more customers opting for on-the-go listening, having a user-friendly platform is important.

With this in mind, it’s vital for music streaming services to be on the pulse of their users’ needs. Whether it’s in-app bugs, value for money, or inadequate AI, understanding your customers is necessary when making an app which caters to everyone.

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