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Why Spotify wants to look like TikTok, with co-president Gustav Söderström

Decoder with Nilay Patel

March 14, 2023

60 minutes

Gustav Söderström has worked at Spotify for a long time; his first big project was leading the launch of its mobile app back in 2009. That makes him the perfect company leader to talk to about Spotify’s recent redesign, which introduces a visual, TikTok-like feed for discovering new content on the app’s homepage. As his boss CEO Daniel Ek put it last week, it’s “the biggest change Spotify has undergone since we introduced mobile.”

With the title of co-president and chief product and technology officer, Söderström is responsible for not only how Spotify looks and feels but also all the AI work happening behind the scenes to power its increasingly important recommendations. According to Söderström, it turns out that improving those recommendations is actually at the heart of the big redesign. “I think companies that don’t have an efficient user interface for a machine learning world are not going to be able to leverage machine learning,” he told Alex Heath on the newest episode of Decoder.


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Decoder is a production of The Verge and part of the Vox Media Podcast Network.

It was produced by Creighton DeSimone and Jackie McDermott and it was edited by Callie Wright. 

The Decoder music is by Breakmaster Cylinder. Our Editorial Director is Brooke Minters and our Executive Director is Eleanor Donovan.

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