Can Spotify Predict The Grammys?

The favorite music-streaming site pits its wits, and its analytics, against the music industry.

Spotify is trying its hand at predicting the Grammys. It thinks Gotye will win Record of the Year and Best Pop Duo/Group with "Somebody That I Used To Know," Mumford & Sons' "Babel" will win the Album of the Year crown, and Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe" will win the Best Pop Solo Performance. To capitalize on the fun, Spotify's also got its own new "Predict the Grammys" app, which lets users predict their own winners lists and share them.

The trick to this PR-ish stunt is actually rooted in some sensible analysis: Thanks to its status as a streaming content website, Spotify has a dataset that relates to how often folks are listening to particular tracks, albums, and artists. It's not exactly a "big data" problem, but with millions of users and a huge track database it's at least a vast statistical game that Spotify is playing. In truth, there are elements of the analysis that also explain why Twitter is buying Bluefin Labs—because Twitter's own sea of tweets relating to TV fans' opinions could make Twitter's stats as relevant as Nielsen's famous TV ratings figures.

Can social media displace traditional ratings systems to work out how popular TV shows, movies, and musical recordings are?

[Image: Flickr user Sorosh]

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  • marnie

    I think it’s such a cool idea for Spotify to use the social
    media tools of their website to their advantage by predicting these award
    winners! I’m a little skeptical about Gotye winning the Record of the Year, but
    I’m really curious to watch the Grammys and see if Spotify was right after all!
    Sadly, I won’t be able to make it home from my office at DISH in time to watch
    the event live, but it’s not all a loss. I can always count on the whole thing
    to be recorded for me without a hitch using my DISH Hopper DVR’s PrimeTime
    Anytime. This neat feature automatically records everything on the four major
    networks during primetime hours, so I never have to stress about missing any
    the biggest TV events like the Grammys!

  • thesfcritic

    In essence, The Grammys are a popularity contest, so data like how many plays, time listening etc. could prove valuable in choosing the award winners. 

    However, The Grammys selected Bon Iver and Arcade Fire the last two years, much to the chagrin of indie revelers, but remember the stream of tweets exclaiming, "Who's Bonny Bear?"