Consider the size of Spotify’s catalog. A new track is uploaded to the platform nearly every second, so using it as a talent scouting tool can sometimes feel like finding that needle in haystack! But don’t worry – they have something planned for us soon enough…
Playlist-Promotion.com recently learned that Spotify understands this problem and has plans to create a prediction tool that can discover new artists that it believes are most likely to emerge in the business. On March 1, 2022, Spotify received a patent from the United States Patent and Trademark Office to develop this technology. The patent filing describes it as a “system and method for breaking artist prediction in a media content environment.”
How Does It Work?
According to the filing and Playlist-Promotion.com’s research, Spotify’s prediction tool would randomly select users based on their early adoption of tracks and then use a “back-end media server,” select user interaction with Spotify and listening patterns to predict the next new breakout artists. Users would never be informed of their selection. The tool would randomly choose certain users to serve as Spotify’s remote Artists and Repertoire division without those users ever knowing that their listening selections and playlists help Spotify to predict future breaking artists.
The tool is similar to prediction tools on streaming entertainment sites that predict the television shows and movies a user might like based on previous selections. On Spotify, the tool would make note from “historical data” of the artists that selected users play, re-play and share. Popularity would be defined by an artist’s track exceeding a “minimum playback threshold” determined by Spotify.
What Is the Minimum Playback Threshold?
Spotify hasn’t yet made that number public, which can make it hard for artists, talent scouts and promotion companies to understand how best to meet the requirement of a tool that might already be working on Spotify’s backend. In the filing, Spotify noted “200,000 playback requests” per month as an example of the number that the prediction tool might choose as a minimum threshold. It might also use a “minimum growth threshold” that looks at the increase percentage of playback requests from one month to the next. Spotify cited 300% as a potential increase minimum growth threshold but noted that the true numbers it eventually uses might range higher or lower.
Spotify also noted that thresholds might vary based on the audience demographics, music genre and even formats. As an example, it explained the possible threshold differences between a pop singer and a classical pianist. The minimum playback threshold for the former might be 200,000 requests per month. The same for the latter might only be 20,000 monthly requests.
Why Does Spotify Care So Much?
It’s obvious that Spotify benefits from predicting breaking artists. A prediction tool that can give the company this type of power would make the platform more attractive. Existing users might share their favorite artists, tracks and playlists with potential new users beyond the platform. Positive media stories about it and word-of-mouth advertising might attract new users. The entire idea would make the platform more engaging and fun for music lovers.
Spotify is apparently also looking to the future in other ways. It noted that any playback service provider with this type of prediction tool might also use it to bypass major record labels and other parties to offer their own “promotional and recording deals” to predicted breakout artists. This means that essentially the platform becomes a talent scout that grabs up the artists by making deals with them before they become famous or even draw enough attention to be signed by traditional companies.
Yet, Spotify doesn’t stop there. It’s apparently attempting to become a one-stop-shop that everyone will recognize as a “source” for talent discovery and “new and interesting media content.” The patent outlines how the service provider might also use their prediction tool to influence the market to make potential breakout artists become famous. The provider would “push” artist content to certain user playlists based on their listening habits and influence and even radio stations with the goal of growing the fan base for that artist.
Is This Even Legal?
Yes. As shown with the previous example of streaming entertainment sites, plenty of streaming platforms using prediction model tools in similar ways. In the music business, Instrumental uses an A&R scouting platform driven by AI technologies and human intelligence to find breakout artists. The platform discovers approximately 5000 emerging artists weekly. It has previously found and signed many now-famous artists when they were still relatively unknown, including Lil Nas X and Tones and I. Meddling has provided predictions to Interscope and Republic Records. Musiio has an AI “Hit Potential Algorithm” that uses the music content to classify, categorize and rank music. Even SoundCloud has taken a similar route by bypassing record labels and signing independent artists who have reached a certain level of success on its platform.
Spotify is merely taking a logical step by using its well-known streaming music platform coupled with this patented prediction tool to give it more significance and power in the industry. It also can save Spotify a lot of money. In March 2021, Spotify revealed that it paid out approximately $23 billion in royalties to record labels and other rights holders in 2020. If it can successfully make deals with artists from a talent pool of currently more than 2 million creators, then it won’t have to pay out as much as time passes. Spotify previously attempted do-it-yourself direct distribution deals with artists in 2018 but pulled the service not long after offering it. This new prediction tool can potentially give Spotify an edge in the industry that it tried to create previously.
We're Here to Help Emerging Artists. Get your music on Spotify playlists with Playlist-Promotion.com
Spotify currently has over 180 million premium subscribers and over 460 million overall active users in 184 markets. The Swedish audio content streamer is available in more than 60 languages. It shouldn’t be difficult for new talent to gain attention. Yet, many of the millions of content creators who upload music to this platform never achieve enough popularity to become breakout artists that Spotify actively promotes to certain influential users and radio stations.
At Playlist-Promotion.com, our professionals help you find your audience and achieve lasting success. We listen to every track we receive and then promote the music to the right users on Spotify from a selection of hundreds of influential playlist curators.