Spotify is doing everything it can to get you to listen to more music. The company has created algorithms to govern everything from your personal best home screen to curated playlists like Discover Weekly, and continues to experiment with new ways to understand music, and why people listen to one song or genre over another. While competitors like Apple Music, Amazon Prime Music, and Google Music rely on a mix of paid humans and community-created playlists, Spotify's main differentiating factor is the level of customization and expansion of music knowledge offered to customers. Spotify needs to continue building out these algorithms because it's the only way to create custom listening experiences for each of its over 200 million users. As Spotify struggles to grow its business, that differentiating factor needs to be a compelling reason to subscribe to the service.
Listening to music on a mobile device has been all the rave since the Walkman. But until streaming services, we were all forced to listen to the music we owned or had on hand, whether they were MP3s on iTunes or CDs you kept in a binder in your backpack. But Spotify, arguably, has made it work the best so far. When you're just starting out on Spotify, it's hard to know what to do or where to go first. These tips will help you get the most out of Spotify, point you to the best features, and hopefully clear up questions about how it all works.
When he's choosing your music for you, Carl Chery, 37, is in Culver City, California, sitting at his desk in an office with no signage, trying to decide whether Drake and Future's "Jumpman" (jumpman, jumpman, jumpman) has jumped the shark. Or at the gym going for a morning run on the treadmill, thinking about your gym and your treadmill, listening through headphones for changes in tempo and tone: Will this song push you through the pain? Is that one too long on the buildup? "It's hard to describe because it's more of a feeling or instinct," says Chery of his process. He's from Queens, New York, which, despite his residence in Los Angeles for the past four years, is obvious when you hear him talk. "It kind of just happens. You sit there and you start moving and just do it." For a while we thought we could choose our own music. In the wake of the last century we seized the right to take our pick from all of the songs in the world (All of the songs in the world!) and told anyone who didn't like it exactly where they could go.
When the music-focused social network Cymbal launched in 2016, the service promised to be a hub for music junkies to share their favorite artists and flaunt their great taste. Once you logged in, you'd see a stream of songs titles shared by whoever you were following, often accompanied by some sort of commentary or mini review. The goal was to create a feed that acted as a playlist, with everything curated by all the people who matter to you. While the service was able to gain some traction among devout music nerds, its user base wasn't enough to keep the service afloat, and Cymbal recently announced it would be shutting down this June. Cymbal wasn't the first service dedicated to social music discovery.
In the early 2000s, Songza implemented a manual music recommendation system for its listeners, where a team of music experts and curators would create playlists. But these recommendations were not objective, as they were dependent on the personal taste of the curators. It was an average experience for listeners, with a fair share of hits and misses, because it was impossible to make a playlist which catered to the varied tastes of a diverse set of people. The technology and the data did not exist back then to build a playlist that would be personalised to the taste of each individual listener. Along came Spotify a few years later, offering a highly personalised weekly playlist called Discover Weekly that quickly became one of their flagship offerings.