Last week Spotify shared new listener stats that show the average number of artists each listener streams increased 37% from just under 30 artists per week in 2014 to 41 artists weekly so far in 2017, thanks to playlists and other music discovery features. But is 41 artists listened to each week really an impressive stat?
Shifting from "listening to what I want, when I want" to "listening to my favorite playlists."
The increase to 41 in the number of artists each user is exposed to weekly comes at a time that they way that music is consumed on Spotify has shifted from "listening to what I want, when I want" to "listening to my favorite playlists." That shift was predictable as the novelty of having a 40 million track music collection wore off. The shift is also driven by how prominently Spotify features their own playlists - often at the expense of independent curators.
And while the music is customized to fit each user's taste, isn't 41 artists just 1 more than we all "discovered" when we were stuck listening to Top 40 broadcast radio?
To understand if Spotify really is achieving music diversity and driving discovery, you'd need a deeper dive into their stats. What are average per user listening hours, for example? And how many people actually listen to a substantial portion of their Discover Weekly and Release Radar playlists?
Not to pick on Spotify, it would also be useful to see similar stats from Pandora's Genome and other music streamers.
Streaming enables music discovery, but I'm not yet convinced that it effectively encourages it.