What Spotify is hiding from you: How its algorithm works and how to use it to your advantage

May 24, 2023

Today we will analyze the algorithm that operates behind Spotify's brain. We will break down its functioning, demonstrating how the platform works every day to ensure the best user experience, reaffirming playlists as the best way to promote yourself as an artist.

In today's digital music landscape, Spotify has become one of the most important platforms for both emerging and established artists. With a vast user base and a range of innovative features, Spotify offers artists a unique opportunity to promote their music. Among the many available promotion strategies, playlists have emerged as one of the most effective methods to gain visibility and reach new listeners.

At the core of using playlists as a promotional tool lies Spotify's algorithm, which serves as the focal point and the beating heart of the platform

Spotify's artificial intelligence is powered by an advanced recommendation algorithm that utilizes a combination of techniques and parameters to provide personalized suggestions to users. Let's take a look at some of them right away!

Music taste detection

Spotify gathers data on user listening habits, such as played songs, created playlists, expressed music preferences through likes and dislikes, and other demographic and behavioral information. This data is used to create unique listening profiles for each user.

Musical analysis

Spotify analyzes the characteristics of music tracks, such as tempo, key, genre, instruments used, and other audio information to create a detailed profile for each song. This analysis is performed using audio signal processing and machine learning algorithms.

Credits: Wall Street Journal

Collaborative Filtering

Spotify utilizes collaborative filtering, a recommendation method that compares user listening profiles to identify accounts with similar tastes. Based on the preferences of similar profiles, songs and artists that might interest the current user are suggested. An actual example can be seen in the artist playlists influencing the 'Fans Also Like' section, as explained in a previous article [link to full article on artist playlists]

Content-based Filtering

Spotify also employs content-based filtering, a recommendation mechanism based on analyzing the characteristics of the content itself, to provide personalized suggestions to users. This approach relies on the musical features of tracks to find songs similar to ones that a user has listened to or enjoyed in the past. This method allows for recommendations based on specific features such as genre, rhythm, or mood of the music.

Let's take as an example Spotify's Radio

Often, when we finish listening to an album, Spotify creates a queue that, after the latest update, is called 'Recommended for You' (for example, the song's radio, album radio, etc.). In this queue, tracks that are most similar to the recently listened song or playlist will be played, aiming to recommend new listening options to users while staying consistent with our preferences or what we have recently searched for.

Machine Learning

Spotify's algorithm relies on machine learning to continuously improve the recommended content. The algorithm analyzes user responses to recommendations and utilizes this information to update recommendation models, providing increasingly accurate and personalized suggestions.

After briefly explaining the underlying mechanisms of Spotify, we can observe how these features contribute to promoting songs through playlists.

This confirms the importance of searching for the most suitable playlist that matches the pre-defined target audience to which the song will be sent. By doing so, the chances of people liking your song significantly increase. This will stimulate the algorithm and provide you with an additional opportunity to increase streams and be included in larger playlists.

But how do I find my ideal target? How do I know if the playlist I'm sending my song to is the right one?

There are web platforms that can help you find the perfect playlist and do all the dirty work for you. All you have to do is submit your song!

One of these platforms is definitely Matchfy.io, a professional platform for artists, playlist curators, and record labels, which allows users to promote their music on Spotify. In addition to promoting your new track, Matchfy provides detailed and industry-leading artist analytics tools!

By signing up today, you will receive €50 to spend on the platform and crazy discounts to make your music stand out.

Furthermore, if you're a curator and you plan to manage and promote your own playlist, you can win up to €200 per month! Learn more.