How the Spotify algorithm actually works
Did you know there are 3 main components of the Spotify algorithm? Well, today i’m going to walk you through it!
This algorithm is likely a big reason why Spotify is dominating the streaming market share (35% in the US), but it’s also one reason why so many people in music marketing tend to focus on Spotify.
Triggering algorithmic playlists on Spotify is a huge goal when it comes to promoting your music with Facebook ads.
What are Spotify algorithmic playlists?
Algorithmic playlists are simply playlists that use an algorithm (code) to decide what people will like. They aren’t playlists curated by a human, a computer decides who to add to these playlists.
Every Spotify customer has a unique set of algorithmic playlists tuned to their listening habits.
Some examples of these playlists are:
Your Daily Mix
The 3-Part Algorithm
The Spotify algorithm has 3 main components:
I’m going to explain these as simply as I can, just keep in mind there is a lot of complicated math and software that goes behind each of these components.
Collaborative filtering sounds fancy, but it is actually very simple. Imagine that there are 100 people that love Coldplay and listen to it a bunch on Spotify. 10 of those people also love Imagine Dragons, but the other 90 have never listened to them. Spotify then assumes that the other 90 would likely also love Imagine Dragons.
Not extrapolate that same idea to the millions of songs on Spotify, and instead of just basic stream data they’re also tracking saves, skips, playlist adds and many more variables to make these conclusions.
Audio analysis is pretty magical. Every single song thats uploaded to Spotify is analyzed, and Spotify can tell the key, tempo, danceability, instrumentalness, energy and more about the track.
Take a look at this audio analysis for one of my alternative metal band’s songs.
Spotify uses this information to determine what songs your song might appear next to, and have a general idea of the genre of the song. Apparently they use this data early in a songs life before they have collaborative filtering data, and to decide in which order they place songs in a playlist (there a science to how DJ’s order songs).
Web crawling is basically what Google does for the internet, but tailored towards music. Spotify is constantly monitoring tens of thousands of music websites and social media to see which artists are appearing next to each other, who is touring with who, and which artists are starting to receive an increase in coverage.
Why would they do this? Well if an artist starts popping up on many review blogs, and is hopping on a tour with a large artist, Spotify can use that information to conclude that the artist is becoming more popular and recommend their music to other people. But also they can recommend it to the right people.
I have to imagine that they have a good idea about which websites consistently cover hit songs before they’re hits. Spotify wants their platform to be the place you discover the next hit single of the season.
What can you do with this?
Well aside from the fact that learning is fun, there are some lessons you can take away from this.
Having the wrong people listen to your music does you no good because it trains the algorithm to look for the wrong people
Bots are a waste of time, for the same reason
Press, reviews and tour coverage can translate to Spotify numbers if done in the right way at the right time
Spotify has a pretty great idea of what your song is and who its for without you having to tell them
I think the biggest lesson is that fact that you really want the right people listening to your music. This is a big part in why Facebook ads can be so effective at triggering the algorithm, because you can target the right people.
There are other factors to this of course. If this topic is interesting to you I recommend picking up a copy of my Spotify Algorithms book, available in paperback, e-book and audiobook.
This week I filmed a video showing how I got my alternative metal band’s newest song to 20k streams in 2 months on Spotify using Facebook ads.
I also recently filmed an interview video / podcast episode with Kyle Markland! He was on the channel years ago but I brought him back so we could talk about his techniques for running Facebook ads for promoting music on Spotify.
In case you don’t know, I have a podcast! Currently there are 43 episodes and it has over 20,000 downloads.
Recently i’ve been posting a lot on Twitter:
I'm running a split test seeing what the difference is targeting for Spotify or NOT targeting for Spotify in a Facebook conversion campaign designed to send people to Spotify...
What do you think the result will be?
— Andrew Southworth (@southwortha)
Jul 7, 2023
Here are some music industry news highlights from the past week.
Lalals launches an AI voice tool that allows anyone to copy the vocals of Drake, Ed Sheeran, Ariana Grande and more.
TikTok Music is officially here, launching in Indonesia and Brazil. It includes the catalogs of all three major record companies: UMG, Warner and Sony.
Livenation and Deezer are embracing zen / meditation music with dedicated apps.
Soundcloud is partnering with Squarespace, Adobe and Discord to expand Soundcloud for Artists member benefits.
Quote of the Week
The only heaven we can hope for is one here on earth, now. We should stop waiting to get into heaven and start trying to create it.
I’m a huge South Park fan, and thats where this quote comes from. Regardless of your religious beliefs I think the message of this is powerful.
Pursue your dreams, work your ass off, but make sure you take the time to actually enjoy life. Also, do everything in your power to make the world a better place for yourself and others.
Whenever you’re ready, there are 4 ways I can help you:
My courses. Spotify Growth Machine teaches you how to use Facebook ads to promote your music on Spotify. YouTube Growth Machine teaches you how to grow a YouTube channel organically and how to use YouTube ads.
My ad agency. Forbid Media specializes in running Facebook conversion ads to promote your music on Spotify.
Website / Store / Funnels. MusicFunnels is the best all-in-one platform for music artists to make a website, online store, sales funnels and build their mailing list.
1-on-1 consulting. You can book 1-hour calls with myself or Alex Bochel here.
🚀 Spotify Growth Machine Course: https://learn.generastudios.com/spotify-growth-machine
🏆 Hire us to run your ads: https://www.forbidmedia.com/
🌍 Best website / store / funnels for music artists: https://musicfunnels.io/ (get your 14-day FREE trial!)
🎬 YouTube Growth Machine: https://learn.generastudios.com/youtube-google-growth-machine/
🧑💻 Consultations: https://generastudios.com/pages/consulting
⌨️ Chat in the community (FREE): https://community.generastudios.com/
🎬 Animated lyric videos: https://generastudios.com/products/lyric-videos
Discount / Affiliate Links:
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If you’d rather just purchase the e-book, or physical book or audiobook you can do so here.
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