How our app release process works

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How our app release process works

Community Manager
Community Manager

Our product owners have been reading your feedback here in the Community and in our Beta boards. In doing so they've realized there's quite a few questions from you all about how our release process works. One of our POs @henka has drafted this post for you all to help outline our process at Spotify and hopefully answer some questions you all might have. 

 

Hello,

 

We’d like to quickly introduce you to how we deliver our Spotify client software and experience to you. There are key three points we’d like to share:

 

1. Releases are time-based, rather than content-based

 

Instead of delivering a fixed set of improvements and cutting the release when all the content criteria have been met, we generally deliver on a fixed schedule. This schedule is currently two weeks.

 

What this means is that with every release, in addition to all the issues that get fixed in that two week duration, you will also get whatever feature set improvements we can deliver to the deadline.



2. New features are rolled out incrementally

 

So, while we do deliver new features and improvements with most client releases, some users will experience new features in Spotify quicker than others. This is because most of the feature set can be controlled from within the Spotify service itself. We call this incremental or gradual rollout and this is a means for us to make sure that the new features are of top-notch quality when they are shipped to all users.



3. We do A/B tests.

 

At Spotify, we commonly employ a technique called A/B testing to try out tweaks to our product. The point of A/B testing is to ship a particular change to a small enough test group and then evaluate performance against a control group.

 

If the A/B test is successful, with respect to the metrics important to that specific test, we may opt to roll out the change to the full user base.

 

If the A/B test is unsuccessful, we will most likely not pursue that change any further. This is why sometimes you’ll have a friend with a feature that hasn’t reached you yet. Users can also reach out to us if they would like to be removed from a specific A/B test at any time. 

 

Regards,

Henrik Österdahl Djurfelter

7 Replies

Re: How our app release process works

user-removed
Not applicable

What is the rationale for releasing every two weeks rather than when a new version is ready? It seems like almost every app update brings with it some new bug or annoyance, probably because the development team has a constant deadline rather than being allowed to ensure everything is working properly.

Re: How our app release process works

csahsu
Casual Listener
I get creating predictability and creating a cadence for the teams to release, but that only works in an environment where you're also delivering quality and properly testing. You cannot treat app rolllout the same way would web features because you're restricted by your own release cadence. There is no auto deploy patch all servers hotfixing like you have in a web application.

And given the cycle, bugs may in fact live in the apps for a month or more before they are found, fixed and put into a release. Ultimately you're going to alienate a lot of users, especially the paid premium ones.

That being said, how do we opt out of tests altogether. Since I'd suspect that a lot of the bugs recently might be due to some sort untested a/b test. Or at least why risk it for something that is a daily use application that should perform flawlessly in its core feature, which is to play music.

Re: How our app release process works

RickP2058
Regular

Two(ish) part question here:

 

A. Is there a specific location where we can see a running list of changes from one release to the next? I have the latest version and have found it to be pretty much unusable due to recurring "offline"  and "oops" messages. My daughter on the other hand has an older (3.7 something) version running on the same phone and has zero issues with hers.  I'd like to downgrade but haven't been a subscriber long and don't know what features or functionality I'd lose in the process. A running changelog would be helpful to pick the best version to install. 

 

B.  Are previous versions available for download directly from Spotify? If not can anyone recommend a good place to download them from? Google tells me there are a number of sites available to download from but while I'm sure some are ok I'm guessing others may be sketchy.

 

Thanks  

Re: How our app release process works

paulbenish86
Newbie

I don't recommend installing the betas, but you can download an older version. I have used this source many times. Don't forget to uninstall whichever version you're using first

 

Post Edited: This post has been edited to remove a link to an external site hosting the Spotify Android App. It is always recommended to download the application directly from the Spotify servers or through an official app store such as Google or Amazon.

Re: How our app release process works

navaira
Roadie

THANK YOU Paul.

 

I just found out that downgrading to 3.8.0.800 solves my problems with gapless playing, artwork not appearing and probably a few more. Amazing. Now I just have to go through all stable versions and find the one with least bugs! ;)

 

Edit: spoke too fast, once files get cached they won't play gapless anymore. It's interesting to see how long this error has been around.

Re: How our app release process works

user-removed
Not applicable

No sound after playing one song.

Makes the app really unusable in my opinion and a big fail from the devs. Problems like these should not occur and an a new version should never be released. I consider this a bug that should only occur in Alpha development.

 

Shame on you Spotify. You're a big company with a lot of paying users and bugs like these make you look like amateurs.

 

Sony Xpreria M. Android 4.3

Re: How our app release process works

Thepatricksquir
Newbie
Ever since upgrading to Android 6.0 on my device, it has been a complete trainwreck of issues. First we couldn't download to the SD card. Then music would start disappearing. I was told to perform a reinstall. Then nothing downloaded whatsoever. Then the "oops" messages. Then the songs either not playing or stopping halfway through. Now, on top of everything else, the app crashes. This performance is what drove me from beats music to Spotify in the first place. You guys have been slower to fix these issues than the government during the Flint water crisis.
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