A technical error has led to a drop in the follower counts for a number of Spotify playlists, but the streaming service says it is working to correct the problem.
Several labels have contacted Music Ally this week saying that follower counts on some of their playlists had dropped suddenly, in some cases by thousands of followers.
“Each day we undertake a data processing job to synchronise data – including playlist follower counts – between different systems,” said a Spotify spokesperson in a statement, after being contacted by Music Ally.
“On Tuesday evening, a technical error caused a glitch in this process, which saw a number of playlist follower counts affected in the Spotify client.”
We understand labels are also being contacted today with Spotify’s explanation of the problem, which it says does not affect playlists’ actual followers: listeners have not been unsubscribed from the playlists.
“It is important to note that no playlist followers were lost in our system: merely that the playlist follower counts shown were affected,” said the spokesperson.
“We are very sorry for any inconvenience caused, and we are working to restore the follower numbers to the affected playlists, which we expect to be corrected within the next week.”
It’s a mark of the significance playlists are playing within Spotify that this week’s problem has caused such consternation within labels.
The streaming service recently launched a new process for labels to pitch their own playlists for slots in the Browse section of its service, with a quota system to ensure the three major labels and independents (aggregated through Merlin) got a fair crack at promotion alongside Spotify’s own playlists.
At the time, some labels complained that some of their playlists seemed to have tumbled down Spotify’s search rankings – meaning that they appeared lower in the search results for specific terms and genres.
The fact that Spotify’s own playlists were also affected, as well as the way label playlists bounced back up the rankings within days, hinted at gremlins in the system rather than a deliberate effort to downrank third-party playlists.
That plus this week’s issues with follower counts will certainly be cause for concern for Spotify, but it looks a case of cock-up rather than conspiracy in terms of the company’s approach to third-party playlists.