Artists’ profile pages on Spotify include a ‘Fans Also Like’ tab, showing a range of artists considered to be similar to them. How does it work? Well, yes, it’s based on who fans of that artist also like, but Spotify has published a blog post outlining its methodology in a little more detail.

“The more fans two artists have in common, and the larger the share of each artist’s total fans those shared fans represent, the more similar we consider them,” said ‘data alchemist’ Glenn McDonald. “If an aspiring band has 10,000 fans, and 6,000 of them are also fans of another band that also has 10,000 fans, that’s a pretty good sign that the two bands are probably similar. Whereas either of those bands might easily have 1,000 fans who also like Ariana Grande, but Ariana has tens of millions of fans, so those 1,000 shared fans aren’t a significant share of hers.”

However, Spotify is also scraping blogs, magazines and music-related forums to understand possible links between artists based on how their music is described. “In many cases, shared fans are the factor that carries more weight. But new artists who might be enjoying a lot of press before a debut release also get a boost from shared descriptions,” explained the post.

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