Spotify has 75 million users in 58 countries. On average, each Spotify user listens to 148 minutes of music on Spotify per day.
As you might imagine, Spotify can collect a ton of data about its users — what kinds of music they listen to, when they listen to it, and more.
At the International Consumer Electronics Showcase (CES) in Las Vegas Tuesday, Spotify creative director Rich Frankel explained how Spotify can know so much about its users, and how it uses that data.
“We’re really leaning into selfie culture,” the global creative head of Spotify told the audience. “This is an image of yourself through a lens we provide, through our data.”
Frankel was talking about a series of projects Spotify has rolled out recently, including its Year in Review, which gave users a ton of information about their year in music in 2015, starting with the very first song they streamed on Spotify back in January 2015. The tool lets users create their own personal year-end recap that runs down things like the artist you listened to most, and how much of your time was spent listening to Spotify last year.
Another way Spotify uses its data is in advertising campaigns. In New York City, Spotify showed users in different neighbourhoods the most popular artist where they lived. In the East Village, for example, that meant a big billboard featuring The Weeknd. In Brooklyn’s hip Williamsburg neighbourhood, it was Justin Bieber.
In May, Spotify announced it would be launching a new feature that allows users to browse playlists consisting of music in addition to other media like podcasts and video. This was rolled out in beta over the summer; in coming months, Frankel said Tuesday, a more “robust” version is coming.
“Today we’re introducing a new Spotify experience that’s more accessible, personal and usable than anything in music,” Spotify CEO Daniel Ek said. He said this includes new types of content on Spotify, like “non-music content” and “better experiences.” Ek also says Spotify can serve targeted advertisements to users by focusing on the new playlist format.
In addition to announcing the new media discovery feature in May, Spotify also announced it’s using new running playlists made by artists like Tiesto, along with an “entirely new track format” and using the accelerometer inside your smartphone to help find songs with beats that match your running pace. Gustav Söderström, Spotify’s chief product officer, says Spotify’s new Spotify Running feature only takes 5 seconds to find the right song to match your pace.
Spotify also launched a Now feature that shows you collections of music for each part of your day, from waking up, to commuting, to falling asleep. These playlists are curated from your personal music as well as by Spotify’s “in-house experts.” Over time, the company says, recommendations will adapt to be more personalised for you.
Personalisation is a huge part of Spotify’s mission now, Frankel said onstage Tuesday. Spotify wants to use the data it has about you and your music taste and lifestyle to show you more music you like and help you discover new artists.