Spotify Introduces Browse Page to Help People Find Streaming Music Playlists | Spotify

Music streaming services like Spotify have several big challenges in 2013, including convincing musicians of their merits and charting a path to profitability. Better music discovery is a third problem in search of solutions.

Sensitive to suggestions that its service is nothing more than a “search box”, Spotify has announced its latest new feature designed to direct its users to music they might like. It’s called Browse.

Initially available in the company’s iOS and Android apps, Browse is a page featuring Spotify playlists grouped by context and mood. The former includes situations such as commutes, parties, and early morning blues, while the latter runs the gamut from romance to “songs for you, not your parents.”

Most of the playlists were chosen by Spotify’s editorial team from the 1 billion+ created by its 24 million active users, although internal staff also create their own themed selections to sit in the new page. navigation.

The launch follows Spotify’s acquisition earlier in 2013 of music discovery startup Tunigo, whose website and app similarly focused on themed playlists.

“They have a whole bunch of music experts, and they go through the huge range of playlists and pick the ones that resonate with users, and if they see a gap, they create their own as well,” the vice said. -President of Product Development for Spotify. tells Charlie Hellman to the Guardian.

“We think this use case is especially useful on mobile, where you’re more likely to need a playlist to help you through whatever situation you find yourself in. But we don’t. consider it a cloud service, so all the features we deploy will eventually be on all the platforms we play on.”

Browse will partner with two other forms of music recommendations on Spotify: its social features that let people see what their friends are playing and send/receive individual tracks and playlists; and the recently launched Discover page, which uses algorithms to suggest artists, songs and playlists to users based on their habits.

It’s part of a wider move by pushing music services around music discovery, at a time when most have similarly sized music catalogs and standard subscription prices of £4.99 per month for web-only access and £9.99 for web-plus-mobile access.

Earlier this year, music and technology chief Jimmy Iovine criticized the discovery features of existing streaming services when announcing plans for his company – headphone maker Beats – to enter the market.

“Right now these things are all utilities: ‘Give me your credit card, here’s 12 million songs and good luck.’ We don’t think that’s going to last,” Iovine said in January.

Beats Music is set to launch later this year, with CEO Ian Rogers outlining his ambitions: “The next phase of internet distribution is about curation by trusted sources…I think that’s what consumers want and need,” he said. “They won’t just have a search box.”

However, the fact is that all of these “utilities” have been aware of the need for better discovery features for some time: Spotify, Deezer, Rdio and others have been hard at work on new features to make their catalogs less overwhelming for new users.

This all comes at a time of intense speculation about the future of music streaming, including wildly divergent forecasts from industry analysts.

Already this month, ABI Research claimed that 29 million people will pay for “on-demand” music streaming services by the end of 2013, and that figure will rise to 191 million by the end of 2018.

However, Parks Associates claims that only 15 million people will pay for streaming music subscriptions by 2017 – this despite the fact that music industry body IFPI’s own figures already show 20 million. million streaming subscribers worldwide at the end of 2012.

George L. Hernandez