Spotify is shaking up its charts with a set of new rankings, and a new destination website to show them off. The Spotify Charts website will include weekly Top 50 songs, albums and artists charts, but Spotify listeners who log in will be able to see the expanded Top 200 versions, as well as “streaks, peak position, and song credits”.
The new charts cover 17 genres: mainstays like Hip-Hop, Rock, R&B and Pop to Regional Mexican, K-Pop, Brazilian Funk and Hip-Hop, and Sertanejo and Forró. This may seem a strange move, given so much talk about how genre boundaries are eroding in the streaming era. Spotify says it will categorise songs “based on context from user playlists and editorial feedback”, adding that “currently, artists aren’t able to edit their songs’ genre, but they can flag any miscategorisation to our support team”.
Also new are charts for more than 200 of Spotify’s top cities, plus ‘local pulse’ rankings that will drill down into the “uniquely popular songs in each city” to identify tracks that are taking off specifically in a certain locale. All of these rankings will come with the ability for people to create promo cards to share on social media – both fans and artists.
The new website comes with some rules. Spotify is barring people from using “any automated means of viewing, accessing, or collecting the information you see on the site”, with similar bans on reverse engineering or modifying the site, or circumventing any of its protective tech. Perhaps inevitable, but perhaps there is scope in the future to explore ways this data could be made available to developers (and, indeed, music companies) through an official API too.
Elsewhere in the Spotiverse, there are two more stories bubbling today. A positive one: listeners can now block other users, ensuring they cannot see their profile, public playlists or listening activity. And while that may sound negative, it’s a long-requested feature: for example for people who are encountering harassment from ex-partners.
Less welcome for some listeners is a change to the way Spotify works on connected devices (anything that isn’t a phone or a computer – for example smart speakers) that has turned the service’s ‘Autoplay’ setting on by default. “As of now there’s no way to choose if you want to have Autoplay enabled on a connected device,” explained one of Spotify’s community moderators on a support thread of cross users.
Autoplay is the feature where additional tracks are played when an album or playlist finishes. It’s also one of the two features (the other being radio) where Spotify’s ‘Discovery Mode‘ operates. That’s the feature where artists and labels can choose tracks to be promoted in return for a lower royalty rate. Given that context, switching autoplay on by default on some devices has the potential to spark more criticism of Spotify by organisations who’ve already been protesting about Discovery Mode.