How Spotify's Algorithm Knows Your Music Taste So Well

Why do people love Spotify so much? A lot of the loyalty to the streaming app comes from its dynamic personalization. Spotify goes beyond providing a platform to listen to the songs and podcasts that you like. It learns from your habits so it can present suggestions to expand your listening palate. This results in an entirely new experience in which users are exposed to content they might have never come across otherwise.

Playlists like Discover Weekly, Daily Mix, and the regular round-ups are inspired by Spotify's algorithm system, which is dedicated to creating an amazing, personalized experience for every single user. Instead of general user ratings, Spotify focuses on smaller groupings that provide more specific insight, software engineer Sophia Ciocca explained in a post on Medium. What are people with similar tastes listening to? What are people saying about the songs you like? What songs are similar in terms of composition?

This artificial intelligence is why the app knows your taste so well. However, there's a lot more to the process.

Not just algorithmic, but editorial

Personalized playlists are a significant part of Spotify's success because people love to not only have their feedback collected but also see it being implemented. Everyone loves to feel special, and a tailored experience does just that. "Algotorial Playlists," as they are called internally (according to The Songstats Lab), are put together by the algorithm as well as a personalized touch by Spotify's editorial team.

So, when the editors curate a list of songs and the algorithm pins some to stay in the same position regardless of the shuffle, or it prioritizes some to always be at the top of the list, the user gets the best of both worlds. The technology combined with that human touch results in a unique, curatorial feel to the process. 

When it comes to artists on the platform, factors like follower count, monthly listenership, and having a label don't play a role in getting playlisted as much as how well the track is engaging with listeners on the platform (via Spotify). This shows how much goes into the process of editors listening to millions of songs and curating playlists that really make sense for the user.

Music meets community

In addition to offering music and podcasts, Spotify also combines elements of social media. You can create playlists that others can contribute to and even see what your friends are playing in real-time. Collaborative playlists give you the opportunity to put music together with others and have been used at parties and work get-togethers. Blend is an even more specific type of collaborative playlist which involves only two people, perfect for a close friend or partner. Blend playlists are actually updated daily and constantly changing, which keeps them relevant (via TechCrunch). Probably most popular is the culture behind sharing songs you like, playlists you've made, and playlists made for you with your social media audiences.

Of course, these different features are great avenues to collect even more data on your listening preferences. However, they definitely foster a great sense of closeness and community through music. That's how Spotify knows your tastes so well and how it just keeps getting better. As you tweet that song link or share your Spotify Wrapped to your Instagram story, you now have a bit more background knowledge on the intentionality that goes into it.