Spotify’s Discover Weekly personalised playlist has been a hit, with the ‘weekly mixtape’ notching up more than 1.7bn streams in its first five months last year.
Now the streaming service is turning to its algorithms again with the launch of six new ‘Fresh Finds’ playlists that tap data from music blogs and hipster listeners to surface tracks that may be about to break.
Five of the new playlists are genre-specific: Fire Emoji for hip-hop; Basement for electronic; Hiptronix for vocal pop; Six Strings for guitar rock; and Cyclone for experimental music. The sixth is called Fresh Finds, spanning them all.
Just as Discover Weekly is refreshed every Monday, the new playlists will be updated every Wednesday, with listeners encouraged to follow them on Spotify and harvest tracks they like to their own libraries and playlists.
The main Fresh Finds playlist actually launched quietly alongside Discover Weekly in July 2015, but was not pushed by Spotify. Even so, it has signed up nearly 96,000 followers so far.
For Spotify, Fresh Finds is the latest way it hopes to prove it can drive streams and audiences for emerging artists – and its recently-launched Fan Insights tools will show them exactly how much listening the playlists are driving.
“Spotify has always focused on artists and listeners, and with Fresh Finds we’re specifically looking at new creators, digging deeper to understand how undiscovered artists can attract a huge fan base,” said Brian Whitman, principal scientist at Spotify.
Fresh Finds isn’t the first example of Spotify mining its big data to create automated playlists of breaking tracks, however.
In June 2015, it launched four playlists under the brand of ‘The Needle’: Current for potential hits; Emerging for more-niche artists with possible breakout tracks; Underground for more obscure tracks that were finding an audience; and The Needle as a combination of all three. Accessed through the Sounds of Spotify profile, it remains low-profile.
Fresh Finds and Discover Weekly, though, will sit alongside Spotify’s programmed playlists, as the company puts playlists at the heart of its battle with rival streaming service – as well as its efforts to persuade artists and labels that it can get their new music in front of ever-larger audiences.