Discover Weekly, introduced in 2015, is Spotify’s successful algorithmic sales pitch; it keeps you hooked and monetises your data. It’s been such a successful feature they have been investing ever more resources into it. It also censors what you can hear.
For instance R. Kelly can no longer be found on playlists curated by Spotify after it introduced a new New Hate Content and Hateful Conduct Public Policy. Now I’m not for any minute mourning the loss of R. Kelly to a large proportion of streaming music, but if, say NWA or 2 Live Crew were to fall foul of such a policy it would be enough for me to avoid Spotify, or any other such service with a similar policy.
So how does Discover Weekly work? It uses algorithms designed by The Echo Nest to analyse the audio and textual content of music, to identify the music, and to provide personalised recommendations. Added to this approach it uses textual analysis, to understand what you’ve typed, and collaborative filtering, to analyse both your behaviour and others who may have liked the same artists or songs, added a song to your playlist or visited the artists entry.
So if you want policies and algorithms to limit what you hear, and for your tastes to make corporates profitable, keep ‘discovering’, or alternatively you could get out, support live music more often, and broaden your music discovery actively.
Spotify is reportedly in discussion with the music industry and civil rights activists about how to adjust its rules following concern that the first acts affected were black men, while the music of white men with violent histories remained on editorial playlists.