Monday, November 21, 2016

How Spotify Uses Data

With technology improving we find that data has become more and more valuable in every aspect of our life, even listening to music. The article How Spotify Harnesses Data to Connect With Its 75 Million Users, shows how the music platform uses data to distinguish themselves from other music outlets. The CEO Seth Farbman, stated that the company uses personalized data in order to connect with their users. Previously it was common for us to use websites and platforms like YouTube, iTunes and Pandora as our main source of music. However, Spotify has completed changed this trend by introducing a platform that enables users to listen to anything they want on one app ad-free for a small fee. As a daily Spotify user, I find that the app is ingenious. They were one of the first companies to introduce streaming music and have now become a music mogul.

While reading this article I found is especially interesting how Spotify uses data and data collection to really connect with their users. The CEO pointed out that they not only use data within Spotify but also go to other platforms like Facebook, Good, and other social channels to find data on what is trending. When I use the app every day I do did not realize how much thought and actual data mining was needed and used by the app. They use this data to find exactly what users are listening to, to find when they listen to certain types or music, and that is trending. By doing so they are really able to tell what a person daily routine is like. This was particularly interesting to me, as when I use service I definitely listen to different types of music depending on what I am doing at the time or what time of day is it. I think its amazing that as I go to work out Spotify knows which playlists to recommend based on what I have previously listened to while working out.

It was also interesting when the CEO pointed out that by collecting the data they are not only able to see personal preferences but they are able to see trends, this can be by area, age, and other demographics. It’s amazing how Spotify wants to tell a story to their users and they use data to do so. I find it very true that Spotify does only have generic recommendations that may not accurately depict the users taste but it really recommends and puts together playlist based on personal preference using the data they collect. I usually think of data being used to things that are more database revolved like hospital records, or even Facebook information, however it definitely makes sense that apps like Spotify are also using data analytics to see what their users and the public likes.


  1. I am an avid Spotify user, and have been for many years, so I know what the Spotify experience was before they added all the bells and whistles. I must say, the steps that they have taken to improve the app and what they have done to personalize people’s accounts is incredible. I was never dissatisfied with the services that Spotify provides, but I have to admit that the ways they have improved the service is much more enjoyable. Their services are so popular for exactly this reason, they take what other music app companies have done, but they make it better. Spotify has made my music experience easy and expansive. The music library that they provide is extensive and ranges from many genres and decades. It is a music app for every age. Even my parents love to use Spotify because of its ease of use and music library. Also, being able to make playlists and songs “offline,” so that they do not use data, is a feature that many see as a benefit that is worth the price tag of the monthly subscription fee. The service even offers a special discount for college students, which I happen to know is the reason that the majority of my friends have Spotify instead of other subscription services. Music streaming apps like Apple music do not offer this kind of special pricing. It was also interesting to read about how Spotify pulls from social media platforms to find music that is trending or “hip.” It shows their dedication to providing the best experience to their users.
    Another feature that Spotify has added is “Your Daily Mix.” This aspect of the app pulls the songs that you have been listening to recently and complies a few playlists based off of your preferences and choices. It gives users the opportunity to listen to music that they already like, and introduce them to new songs that they could potentially like. These customized playlists make the app even more personal to the user. This goes along with Prianka’s point that she listens to different types of music depending on things like her mood or what she is doing. For Spotify to choose songs for me based on what I like takes the burden of picking music because sometimes I just do not know what to listen to. Spotify just knows how to make music entertaining and fun and never monotonous and boring.

  2. Spotify has become one of the most popular sources for music streaming. The ability to create a free account with minimal limitations, or pay and appropriate monthly charge for unlimited free music with no ads has greatly increased their clientele. I use Spotify almost every day and I just saw the new Daily Mix option they added to the program and I think it is extremely useful for users. The use of data with Spotify should greatly increase the desire for users to want to use the app. Their use of data is like the way Netflix uses data they collect, - their goal is to make the user feel like Spotify is making more of an effort to personalize their music.
    Personally, I use the playlists on the browse page they update every day I think they do a great job of promoting the most popular music of the present. I did not know they used Facebook and other resources to decide which songs are most popular, but I think this is genius, especially if they use hashtags and look at music that is trending. Additionally, I think the use of demographics is incredibly smart of them because they tailor the music even more, based on age and location. I think what would be even more interesting is if they could use the GPS on peoples’ phones to use their exact location and fill their Spotify with popular music based on that area. I think the use of data is extremely useful for Spotify, but I do think they are slightly behind with the use of it. Since I have joined the program they have greatly improved it, but I think they could integrate this data further to start recommending more music to their clients and even maybe build them playlists like the Daily Mix ones they have started.
    Spotify will continue to dominate the music industry if they begin to use the data more and I don’t think this should be a problem because they should be making enough revenue to manage the data. They should not run into security problems because the data they are dealing with is not sensitive, it is just regarding the music interests of their clients. Additionally, I think they have drawn in such a large clientele they could probably up their monthly charge by a couple dollars because it is so low.

  3. As someone who made the switch from apple music to Spotify several years ago, I really enjoyed reading the article. It is rare to know someone our age that is still using iTunes as their main source of music. With Spotify offering non subscriptions, subscriptions and even discounted subscriptions to students, it has been a no brainer to switch to Spotify. It was interesting to hear about all the different ways Spotify is using big data and to me it only makes the app that more helpful. I am always looking at the suggested songs based on my playlist and find them very helpful. Being able to connect with your friends on Spotify and see what songs they have been listening to gives that personal connection that was never available with iTunes.
    An article that I read recently talked about how Spotify is using big data in their advertisements. Spotify is collecting data on the most listened to songs in certain areas and creating advertisements based of of them. One of the ad reads "Dear person who played Sorry 42 times on valentines day... what did you do". To me this is a way of how companies are using different approaches to marketing through big data. They are using these advertisements to connect with their markets. Apple has been trying to catch up to Spotify with Apple Music but I'm afraid it may be too late. More and more people would rather pay $9 monthly and get unlimited access to all the songs they need.


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