Spotify will soon test giving artists more of a say in how their music is discovered. In this experiment, artists and labels can identify music that’s a priority for them and Spotify’s system will add that signal to the algorithm that determines personalised listening sessions. Spotify will apply this service on Radio and Autoplay initially, after which it will expand it to other sections, depending on feedback.
The music streaming platform won’t charge a fee for this service, as it wrote in a blog post that it wants the tool to be accessible to artists at any stage of their career. Instead, labels or right holders will be required to agree to be paid a promotional recording royalty rate for streams in the personalised listening sessions where this service is provided. Spotify hasn’t mentioned how much lower the rate will be.
“We believe our recommendations should also be informed by artists—their priorities and what they have to say about their music,” the company wrote in its blog post. If the songs resonate with listeners, they’ll be tried in similar sessions, but if they don’t perform well, Spotify said it will pull the songs back from the experiment.
Initially, artists will be able to put the spotlight on specific songs through Autoplay tracks, which are the songs that play after a user has completed listening to a playlist or an album, and Spotify Radio, where the app chooses songs for the listener based on an artist or song chosen by the listener.
Artists will be able to prioritise specific songs – perhaps an album anniversary they’re celebrating, a song they’re excited about, or a cultural moment they’re experiencing. The music streaming service clarified that it would not guarantee placement to labels or artists and will only recommend music it thinks listeners will want to hear.
Spotify said that it was able to make great personalised recommendations because of the complex, dynamic systems that consider a wide variety of inputs about what listeners liked, referred to as signals. These signals are balanced in many possible different pathways to produce an output, which is ‘the perfect song for the moment.’ Signals include what a user is listening to, which song they were adding to their playlist, what time of the day the song was being heard, listening habits of people who have similar tastes, and more.