Spotify My Forever Favorites

Listening is Everything

The goal of this project was to support a major Spotify brand campaign by creating a native app experience that would make it easy for users to share their top songs in a fresh and uniquely branded way. My product team worked closely with Spotify’s brand and creative team to align the feature with the overall initiative.

Some of the IRL inspiration for our hack days project that birthed this feature.

What are meaningful ways that we can help each other, our listeners, and our global community during this pandemic?

This feature started as a hack week project, right at the beginning of the COVID-19 lockdown. The theme was “Playing our part in the global COVID-19 effort.” We hypothesized that sharing curated music collections (like old-school mixtapes) could be a great way to express ourselves and connect with others. We believed that a super low friction mini-playlist experience based on recent listening activity and optimized for social sharing would give people a fun way to connect with others while staying socially distant. 

In May 2020 my cross funtional team transformed this hack days concept into a full-fledged feature for Spotify’s “Listening Together: How I’m Listening” social marketing campaign. Even though we were completely ready to launch, May ended up being a particularly sensitive moment in the US and we decided to be mindful of the events happening and hit pause on our launch. 

This pause also gave us an opportunity to test the feature and and explore some improvements in order to release it for Spotify’s September 2020 “How I’m Listening” initiative. 

A demo video I created to share our hack days idea.
The three slides above show the original feature that was ready to launch. Spotify paused all marketing initiatives because it was a sensitive moment in the US. So we iterated on this original idea and launched a few months later.

Research and User Problems

I used a round of user research on the original feature we designed to identify a couple of user problems to address before our launch that had been pushed out two months:

“As a user I can be stumped or intimidated by having to upload 5 songs without any recommendations. I expect great recommendations from Spotify. Without seeing recommendations up front I may expect to have to search for songs. Even if I know what songs I want to add, I might not remember what they are called.”

“As a user I might also have trouble knowing what kinds of songs I’m supposed to add if the prompt is too general.”

A slide from a stakeholder shareout highlighting key user research findings.
I designed and documented the specs for this highly adaptive share sheet UI enabling users to share all shapes and sizes of content, with multiple media options and varying platforms to share to.

Exploring High Level Interaction Models

I explored a variety of options for how to solve our main problems and help users when it came to effortlessly creating playlists.

I documented these in very low fidelity and included a comparison chart so my team could easily weigh the pros and cons as we determined the best path forward.

Above is the low-fidelity flow we landed on and chose to move forward. My cross functional leads and I agreed it was the most impactful option that we could deliver given our timeline and engineering capacity.

Picking Songs and Podcasts

Up until this point, Spotify had no picker that could search and select songs and podcasts and return either of those content types to the client. So I explored a variety of solutions to this problem inspired by existing playlist creation tools at Spotify. This ended up being an area where my team had to choose the option our engineers could deliver most safely in order to launch on time. So instead of building a data pipeline that combined both songs and playlists, we built a picker with tabs at the top so the user could select songs or podcasts.

Some of my exploration for picking songs and podcasts was based on options I was exploring for the playlist creation step. This idea that wold have had multiple prompts would have relied on different content specific pickers.
This is the tabbed option for picking songs and podcasts that we landed on.

Playlist Creation & Prompts

Creating an easily shareable personalized playlist in a fast and fun way was the point of this while feature so exploring the playlist creation step was the most important part of the project. I came up with a lot of different ideas for how to make the playlist creation UI fun and engaging. In the process of value engineering what we had already built to meet our deadline we were not able to build any of the more creative options, but it still helped to imagine how far we could push a feature like this in the future.

The simplified version that we finally built before we had received the final copy and art direction from Spotify’s brand and creative team.

Specs & Handoff

Because we were working against such a tight deadline and our team was working fully remotely due to COVID, I chose to write extensive specs and documentation to remove any guess work and enable my engineers to work as quickly and efficiently as possible.

One example of how working against a tight deadline on a feature that would only exist for a short time effected my designs is that in some cases, such as the song/playlist picker, I actually designed and spec’d several different options that would take increasingly more engineering effort. The engineers then worked through them in priority order getting as far as they could towards the ideal version before our launch date.
Writing detailed specs in Google Docs with links out to Figma helped my team to asynchronously discuss requirements and work efficiently with limited ambiguity.


“My Forever Favorites” was launched on September 14, 2020. The viral marketing feature like this one that my team worked on only existed in the app for a few days to a week. But in that small amount of time in gained a modest amount of viral traction and was used by Mindy Kaling, Venessa Hudgens and a host of influencers and B-list celebrities.

For a feature that started as a hack days project and was launched to test a hypothesis while my team also worked on “Your 2020 Wrapped” it performed fairly well. Over 300,000 people around the world shared a Spotify branded playlist card to their social media stories in a very short time. This was 3000% more shares than Spotify’s most recent viral campaign. The share rate reached 25% of “Your 2019 Wrapped” which for us was a huge win.