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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Spotify’s Discover Weekly turns 5

In July 2015, popular music streaming service Spotify launched a feature which was – at the time – pretty uncommon: Discover Weekly.

The concept was simple. Every Monday, Spotify users would wake up to a new playlist populated with 30 songs that they hadn’t heard. In doing this, Spotify hoped to enhance their listening by introducing them to artists they might not otherwise hear.

I came to look forward to Mondays because a new set of 30 songs was exciting. It was a weekly habit to listen to the whole thing through and like all the ones I wanted to listen to again later.

Over the years, Discover Weekly has helped expand many people’s music taste, a statement which is now backed numerically.

According to the company, the feature has seen quite a bit of use since its release 5 years ago. In that time, users have spent more than 2.3 billion hours listening to Discover Weekly playlists. That is more than 266,000 years of streaming.

That statistic makes it clear that Discover Weekly has not been an underused feature, and it has been central to Spotify’s user experience.

At the same time, it has been important for artists. It has always been pretty easy to keep up with an artist and listen to their new releases.

But discovering small-timers in your favorite genre isn’t something that most people devote time to, leaving underrepresented artists in the dust. So giving artists a platform for being discovered is a big deal.

Discover Weekly found a way to connect obscure artists with the people who would most enjoy them. Naturally, that means that there will be some misses (we’ve all had an odd song or two on our playlist over the years), but when you “discover” an artist with just a few thousand monthly listeners who is just your type, that feels like a special moment.

Attributing this concept in full to Spotify would be a little far-fetched. When you break it down, this is like recommending songs to someone you know well, which algorithms have been trying to do since streaming came into being.

Remember Pandora? But what is particularly brilliant is just how effective Spotify’s algorithm is. When it was released, it was miles ahead of anything else on the market. The songs felt exact and personal, and they still do five years later.

Alongside the statistic above, Spotify announced its “Most Discovered Artist,” an award that went to Dutch DJ R3HAB. He was the most streamed artist in 16 markets worldwide, a truly global following.

Halsey was high on the list, too; she is the most discovered female artist. Others, like Khalid and RAC, topped the U.S. lists, which is the country where the feature saw the most use.