So Spotify has been experiencing a backlash after updating the terms and conditions of their service to access more user data. As always, the outcry will be short-lived unless the small percentage of paying users like myself actually stop a meaningful number of subscriptions.
But it’s made me look again at the ‘Discover Weekly’ playlist that is automatically generated for me and it’s no wonder Spotify needs more data.
- 30 songs.
- And 11 or 12 of them I can immediately spot are artists I already have in playlists.
- 2 or 3 are songs I already have in playlists.
- And from the rest, another 3 or 4 are songs I wouldn’t put in a playlist in you paid me.
So the success rate in actually finding me something I want to discover is less than 1 in 3. And this is the entertainment data revolution.
You could find a similar success rate by randomly throwing charity shop CDs into a plastic bag and taking them home…
Instead of trying to collate more data, it’d be easier if Spotify just integrated a decent personal recommendation service, like the now-closing ThisIsMyJam. And not keep rolling out a more and more bloated desktop client which has a new version to download almost daily at this point…
On the plus side, the Fresh Finds playlist is still pretty interesting, and there’s the un-algorithmically bollocksed list of New Releases.
Meanwhile Amazon works on the theory that if I’ve watched one police drama via Instant Video, that’s likely to be all I ever want to watch in the future, and Youtube can only recommend a random selection of Vice Media documentaries and the last two American standup comedians I watched. Watching 20 minutes of Amy Schumer apparently means I need to see six interviews with her from American TV shows.
Basically all the data, privacy and information we’re freely giving to large companies results in recommendations as helpful as throwing a dart across the room at an open TV guide.
Meanwhile I finally got around to buying a CD of a live tour I went to see about 7 or so years ago…
I’ll look forward to seeing it start appearing in recommendations across all my usual music and entertainment services in about 6 months time….