How Does Spotify’s Algorithm Work

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Spotify is one of the most popular music streaming services in the world, along with Apple Music. One of the major reasons for this is data, or specifically the algorithm that the platform uses. This algorithm is constantly working on giving users the best experience possible.

How Does Spotify’s Algorithm Work

It can learn someone’s preferences, give them similar recommendations, suggest new genres, or even find music. In other words, this algorithm is what makes the platform so great and enjoyable. But this algorithm can also benefit another group of people, not just the listeners.

If you are a musician or a new artist, you can use this algorithm to your advantage to get as much exposure as possible. It’s not just about distributing your music on Spotify and hoping for the best.

Spotify BaRT (algorithm system)

The BaRT system completely controls every user’s home screen. The name is short for “Bandits for Recommendations as Treatments.” All users have a personalized home screen organized by this AI system.

More importantly, this algorithm suggests which music is played for listeners. It does this in 3 different ways:

  1. Using natural language processing to analyze lyrics, language, and the overall theme of the songs;
  2. It compares the songs that someone is listening to  with new songs to see whether they would like them;
  3. BaRT also analyzes the audio of the music with the focus on rhythm, mood, vibration, instrumentals, complexness, and much more;

These are the core processes this algorithm is carrying out constantly. Artists need to use these processes to their advantage to get the best results with their music.

The First 30 Seconds Are Crucial!

When Spotify’s machine learning system tracks data and gives its suggestions, it relies on the “30-second rule”. But what does this mean? When a user is listening to a song for at least 30 seconds, this is counted as positive data that the algorithm uses for future suggestions.

Artists can use this to their advantage by creating music that is catchy and instantly keeps the attention of listeners. For example, if someone listens to your song for over 30 seconds, it means that the platform will probably play another of your songs to them.

But apart from the technical aspect, making instantly catchy music often means that people will memorize your music and want to hear it again. At the same time, they wouldn’t skip your songs during the first 30-seconds, giving your music the chance to be played with the same listener once again.

Prepare for the Premiere as Best as You Can

Timing is crucial on Spotify. When a new track is released, the algorithm looks at all kinds of data during the next day, including listening times, skip rates, and so on. Simply put, your release is in “special focus” during the first day.

According to the research done by SoundCampaign, how well your track is “ranked” depends a lot on these first 24 hours. That’s why artists need to set the field as best as they can for the launch.

Make sure to build hype around your release, engage people, do a social media strategy, and get as many good numbers as you possibly can during this period.

How well your song performs will significantly affect your future numbers and how much the algorithm considers your music.

Recommendations Based on Lists and Automatic Continuation

Spotify will regularly play songs based on the list a user has listened to. This is again the work of Spotify’s AI as it analyzes tracks within a playlist. The AI will often look at a user’s playlist and give song suggestions based on what they have in their playlists.

User-generated lists have a significant impact on what is recommended to listeners. At the same time, those lists also include different genres and types of music. This information is also used to improve users’ experience and give them the music they will like.

Artists can get a lot of exposure for their music by getting on user-generated curator playlists. Everyone looking to make a significant impact should consider playlists and get their songs on them along with other relevant music.


At the end of the day, remember to create a profile on Spotify and work on it constantly. Spotify loves artists that have active profiles with new information added, activity, and lots of visits. You can compare it to organic promotion as the platform will find you more relevant and “promote” your music when it’s engaging with its million users.

Author Bio

Nadav Peleg, Founder & CEO of SoundCampaign

Nadav Peleg is a seasoned music producer working in the industry for over ten years. Nadav specializes in music, entrepreneurship, business growth, and marketing.

With his passion for tech and marketing, he decided to use his music industry knowledge to help artists find their place in the music industry and get reliable results from his advertising platform.


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