Spotify’s Crazy-Smart Algorithm

How Spotify’s AI Can Guess Your Next Favorite Song


tomasi via Pixabay

Don’t know what to listen to? Spotify might be able to tell you.

In the past ten years or so, Spotify has risen to be one of the top streaming services on the market. The platform provides users with a near-endless amount of music and podcasts. But it’s not just Spotify’s variety that stands out. The platform’s learning algorithm is what puts it side-by-side with mega-corporation competitors.

BaRT–Your Personal Music Finder

In order to provide recommendations for their users with wicked accuracy, Spotify uses an AI system that they call Bandits for Recommendations as Treatments (BaRT). BaRT is responsible for the user’s home screen, where custom-generated playlists are on display.

Things like Daily Mix, Release Radar, and Discover Weekly are all generated by this AI. It is also in charge of the songs that play once a playlist is up. BaRT works to find songs similar enough to what the user was playing before so that the user will enjoy them.

Things like Daily Mix, Release Radar, and Discover Weekly are all generated by this AI.

How Does the AI Work, Though?

Analyzation and data collection are big factors of Spotify’s cutting-edge AI. This means analyzing every music blog out there for keywords and new suggestions. It also means training an audio analysis algorithm to recognize things like the genre of different artists and the different characteristics of songs.

Spotify also collects more personal information from its users–things like age, gender and location–in order to give suggestions. As controversial as collecting personal data sounds, it works. Spotify is able to take the data it has collected about listeners and compare it with that of other users who are in similar groups. By doing this, they are able to give recommendations with much more accuracy.

The terms Spotify uses for these processes are “exploit” and “explore.” When the AI exploits, it is using a user’s listening history and habits. Not only does it collect your listening history, but it also looks at your habits. This means how long you kept a song playing, what you skipped, or the playlists you put together.

Explore means exactly the opposite. Instead of looking at one user’s data, exploring means the AI is analyzing other users around the world. By doing this, BaRT is able to find users who listen similarly to you and find new things based on others’ preferences.

Spotify is a company that has established itself to stand firmly next to its competitors. As a streaming platform, it puts in a monumental amount of work in order to create a positive experience for its users. It’s incredibly powerful learning AI is its main tool in not only pleasing users, but drawing new ones in.