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Spotify Rolls Out Personalized Playlists

Look out for individual recommendations every Monday.

Spotify Rolls Out Personalized Playlists
[Photo: Flickr user downloadsource.fr]

In its latest salvo aimed at Apple, Spotify is rolling out personalized playlists for its millions of users.

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The feature, called “Discover Weekly,” updates every Monday and offers a two-hour customized playlist based on the listening habits of individual users–as well as the habits of listeners with similar tastes.


Re/code‘s Peter Kafka reports that Spotify’s playlists weed out outliers. Kafka found that although his kids had insisted on listening to the Minions soundtrack nonstop, his Spotify recommendations didn’t reflect that:

Spotify tells me the key to “Discover Weekly,” which should start appearing for the rest of Spotify users today, is software that looks at songs you play, then sees what follows or precedes those songs on the playlists other Spotify users create, and builds something based on that data.

Spotify says it solves the Minions Problem by identifying “taste clusters” and looking for outliers. So if you normally listen to 30-year-old indie rock but suddenly have a burst of Christmas music in your listening history, it won’t spend the next few weeks feeding you Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby. The same goes for kids’ music, which is apparently why Spotify knows I didn’t really like “Happy” that much — it was just in the “Despicable Me 2” soundtrack.

According to Spotify’s web forums, the company has been soft testing the product through both employee trials and A/B testing of users since at least April of this year. Spotify acquired music data firm The Echo Nest last year, whose data model is believed to be the basis for Discover Weekly.

New music discovery has become an ongoing point of competition between Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora, and other online music rivals. Along with SoundCloud demos and Facebook, discovery features on streaming music sites have increasingly supplanted radio stations, word of mouth, and record store clerks as a way for customers to uncover new artists and songs.

[via The Guardian]

Correction: This post previously said that Spotify wouldn’t recommend Taylor Swift’s entire catalog if a user listened to Bad Blood on repeat. Swift’s catalog, however, is not actually offered on Spotify.

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