This opinion piece explores the challenges the likes of Spotify, Netflix, Meta, and other pioneering digital media companies will face in ensuring their services are easy to use as their founding business models mature.

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Apps that once cut through with their super-simple takes on media and entertainment are starting to feel increasingly complicated. While the appeal of their core offerings to consumers remains strong, investors’ incessant demands for growth will inevitably lead to more of such clutter. 

Your favorite apps – now with added friction

Recently, after Audible prompted me to renew my annual subscription, I decided to check out Spotify’s audiobook offering. I found a title I wanted to listen to and clicked play, only for the app to say I needed to visit to purchase the audiobook to listen to it via my phone. The pop-up kindly offered to email me the details to make it easier.