How Spotify’s Discover Weekly Cracked Human Curation At Internet Scale

The reason no one attempted something like Discover Weekly until now is because a static, personalized playlist is very risky. A radio stream usually begins with a prompt from the user and can adjust in real time based on a user’s feedback. Discover Weekly, by contrast, is two hours of music you get once a week with no real explanation of why you’re getting these tracks, or how to influence that process. Just like handing a mix tape to your crush in real life, once you finalize the playlist, you’re committed. Somehow Spotify’s algorithms manage to deliver me a consistently great experience.

Behind the scene :

“Today” contains the sample to “They Reminiscence Over You,” a hip-hop classic I’ve spun on Spotify dozens of times. Spotify knew I had never heard “Today,” at least not on their service, and was therefore ripe to be thrilled at connecting the dots. It was a recommendation driven less by the way the music sounds, or genre, than by the cultural and historical web that gives music so much of its power.

I tried pretty much every streaming services available and I’ve got to say that Spotify Discover Weekly is the best by far. The shear volume of tracks and artists that I’ve discovered and loved ever since is impressive. 

Looking at Monday’s playlist, I’ve liked 18 out of 30 tracks which means, at the end of the day, many more tracks and albums as soon as I will tap into the new artists that I’ve discovered today. A 60% positive-rate doesn’t seem much but the quality of the curation is here. Plus, all I had to do is to wait for my playlist to be refilled —every Monday. Not a bad way to start the week. 

A 100% music-match would freak me out, anyway, but isn’t that where we are heading to ?

→ The Verge