Spotify launched Discover Weekly in July 2015 as an algorithm-powered weekly playlist tuned to the tastes of each individual listener. Now it’s about to hit a new milestone.
More stats today: there are now more than 40 million people listening to Discover Weekly – around 40% of Spotify’s active users – with more than half of them streaming at least 10 tracks from it each week.
Spotify also said that there are now more than 8,000 artists for whom more than half of their listeners in the last month came from Discover Weekly, citing emerging acts including Transviolet, TastyTreat and Safakash as examples.
Now it’s our turn for some number-crunching. In its first three months, Discover Weekly generated 1bn streams – around 83m streams a week. Two months later its total reached 1.7bn (so nearly 88m weekly streams in that period), but five months on from that it’s now about to cross 5bn, suggesting a sharp increase to 165m Discover Weekly streams a week in 2016.
(Spotify’s recent financial results actually claimed that Discover Weekly “delivered 3 billion streams last year” but after checking that with Spotify, Music Ally understands that the 1.7bn figure from earlier in December is the official stat. It’s possible that the ‘real’ end-of-year figure was 2bn Discover Weekly streams, and there was a typo in the financials.)
As far as we can tell, then, Discover Weekly streams have doubled in the first months of 2016. In its financial results, Spotify made it clear that Discover Weekly and more playlists like it are a key part of its future plans.
“We launched Discover Weekly in the summer 2015. With a fantastic start, it delivered 3 billion streams last year,” explained the board of directors’ management report.
“Discover Weekly brings the users two hours of custom-made music recommendations, tailored specifically for them and delivered as a unique Spotify playlist every Monday morning. This is the future of music and you should expect to see a lot of progress in this area during the coming years.”
In a recent interview with Music Ally, Spotify’s Matt Ogle hinted at what that progress might involve.
“Something that Discover Weekly really has ignited within the company, which we’re going to be exploring in a bunch of different ways, is the power of that weekly ritual or cadence,” Ogle told us.
“Right now we’re thinking about what the things are you might want to do on Spotify every day, what the things are that you might only want to do once a month. This periodic delivery isn’t the right fit for everything, but we think there are perhaps more opportunities than we perhaps realised initially to creating rituals and habits like that.”
Ogle went on to talk about how Spotify is rethinking its approach to playlists, and the system for storing and serving them.
“As robust as that system is, it was designed for user playlists. It was not designed for ‘Let’s set 75m of them to all get updated in a ten-hour window on Sunday night!’,” he said.
“So behind the scenes, we’re going ‘Alright, if we want to have 20 personalised playlists in a given week, what sort of a system would we need under the hood?’ What would we build so that you could just seamlessly serve that?”
Update: in an interview with TechCrunch, Spotify lead engineer Ed Newett says that the streaming service is – this is TechCrunch’s paraphrasing of his words – “considering adding more personalized playlists. Specifically, one for brand new releases, and another for old hits and favorites you might have forgotten”.
Today’s Discover Weekly announcement follows news earlier this month that the playlists run by Spotify’s in-house editorial team are now generating more than 1bn streams a week.