What Spotify’s Upgraded Family Plan Says About The Impact of Categorizing Songs
woman hand Holding New iPhone 7 isolated on white background. iPhone 7 Space Gray with music service Spotify on the screen.

Ankara, Turkey – September 6, 2017: Girl holding a iPhone 7 Space Gray with music service Spotify on the screen. iPhone 7 was created and developed by the Apple inc.

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Spotify’s upgraded Premium Family Plan addresses a major pain point for the primary Spotify account holder, parent or guardian: ensuring that children are not exposed to explicit lyrics. Spotify’s upgraded plan enables parents to PG rate the content their children are exposed to by turning on or off the ‘explicit content’ filter for any of the plan’s six sub-accounts. The filter is shown as an “EXPLICIT” tag or “E” on any release on the web player. When marked as “explicit,” the track appears grayed out and unable to be played. The explicit content filter has been available for years, but users could not control other accounts, only their own.

The responsibility of identifying a song as explicit is that of the rights-holder, the artist, the manager or even the label rep responsible for distributing the song to DSP’s like Spotify, Apple, Pandora, YouTube or Deezer. Because the identification process is decentralized,  Spotify can’t guarantee that all explicit content is identified and filtered for. To compensate for this, they offer users the ability to report explicit content that hasn’t been properly identified. By allowing users to participate, Spotify is facilitating a collaborative effort to support parental control over content with profanity and negative messaging.

Identifying and categorizing key terms has a direct impact on what music, Spotify users see and have access too. Categorizing music by genre has a similar effect. 

As of 2016, Spotify reportedly had identified over 1,387 genres. Genre classifications include; pop, pop Christmas, disco house, techno, electro Latino, UK dub, deep happy hardcore and bouncy house. Unlike “Explicit,” musical genres are classified by Spotify itself and are identified based on a number of factors including tempo, acoustic-ness, energy, danceability, the strength of the beat and emotional tone. The point of classifying songs by genre based on their musical properties is to identify similar-sounding songs for playlists and targeted recommendations, for the purpose of onboarding subscribers and satisfying current ones. Classifying genres in this way serves Spotify because it allows them to find music on behalf of the listener. It is key to Spotify’s service.

As a label, you want to find listeners on behalf of artists. The “Related Artists” feature serves as a business function for music marketers and is used to identify artists with potentially parallel and untapped audience segments. Related artists are determined by algorithms that identify songs that share a similar audience. It is not possible for an artist to see demographic information about rival artists through Spotify Artists Insights. However, by artists using their own information from Artists Insights, it is still possible to make comparisons with other artists’ statistics on social media, such as the time between posts, the time between releases and the cities toured.  

The categorization of a song whether it be explicit or by genre impacts exposure to certain music. It’s worth asking, will allowing users to window content impact algorithms that identify related artists based on similar audiences?

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Spotify’s upgraded Premium Family Plan addresses a major pain point for the primary Spotify account holder, parent or guardian: ensuring that children are not exposed to explicit lyrics. Spotify’s upgraded plan enables parents to PG rate the content their children are exposed to by turning on or off the ‘explicit content’ filter for any of the plan’s six sub-accounts. The filter is shown as an “EXPLICIT” tag or “E” on any release on the web player. When marked as “explicit,” the track appears grayed out and unable to be played. The explicit content filter has been available for years, but users could not control other accounts, only their own.

The responsibility of identifying a song as explicit is that of the rights-holder, the artist, the manager or even the label rep responsible for distributing the song to DSP’s like Spotify, Apple, Pandora, YouTube or Deezer. Because the identification process is decentralized,  Spotify can’t guarantee that all explicit content is identified and filtered for. To compensate for this, they offer users the ability to report explicit content that hasn’t been properly identified. By allowing users to participate, Spotify is facilitating a collaborative effort to support parental control over content with profanity and negative messaging.

Identifying and categorizing key terms has a direct impact on what music, Spotify users see and have access too. Categorizing music by genre has a similar effect. 

As of 2016, Spotify reportedly had identified over 1,387 genres. Genre classifications include; pop, pop Christmas, disco house, techno, electro Latino, UK dub, deep happy hardcore and bouncy house. Unlike “Explicit,” musical genres are classified by Spotify itself and are identified based on a number of factors including tempo, acoustic-ness, energy, danceability, the strength of the beat and emotional tone. The point of classifying songs by genre based on their musical properties is to identify similar-sounding songs for playlists and targeted recommendations, for the purpose of onboarding subscribers and satisfying current ones. Classifying genres in this way serves Spotify because it allows them to find music on behalf of the listener. It is key to Spotify’s service.

As a label, you want to find listeners on behalf of artists. The “Related Artists” feature serves as a business function for music marketers and is used to identify artists with potentially parallel and untapped audience segments. Related artists are determined by algorithms that identify songs that share a similar audience. It is not possible for an artist to see demographic information about rival artists through Spotify Artists Insights. However, by artists using their own information from Artists Insights, it is still possible to make comparisons with other artists’ statistics on social media, such as the time between posts, the time between releases and the cities toured.  

The categorization of a song whether it be explicit or by genre impacts exposure to certain music. It’s worth asking, will allowing users to window content impact algorithms that identify related artists based on similar audiences?

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