Here’s the weird thing about choice: it breeds indecision. And the more choice you have, the harder it is to simply settle on something… anything. It’s a serious challenge facing streaming services like Spotify that put literally millions of options at your fingertips. Today the Swedish company is unveiling its latest effort to master the art of content discovery. The idea is actually pretty simple (and honestly I’m amazed the company hadn’t thought of this earlier). You’ll now find a Top Tracks in Your Network playlist under Top Lists. This playlist, obviously enough, collects the most played tracks among the people you follow over the last seven days. The hope is this will not only highlight that new Run the Jewels album that all of your friends are listening to, but it will also let you know when that one friend keeps listening to Go Your Own Way on repeat.
To hear Spotify tell it, the goal is to recreate the “meaning” of a friend sending you a song, without having to wait for them to actually think of you. It’s a strange sort of passive social sharing, at least on the part of your friends. The Top Tracks in Your Network, however, offers you the opportunity to perhaps fine tune your following list. You can actually see which of your friends is responsible for the flood of Lorde songs and banish them from your feed.
The other part of this equation is you’ll soon be able to see which of your friends are listening to particular artists or albums when you visit an artist or album page. If you’re just diving into an artist with a deep catalog, like Tom Petty, then it might make sense to start with the album that most of your friends listen to. Or maybe you’ll discover someone who keeps listening to all the same early aughts indie rap as you, and you’ll want to follow them. And it’s important to note, that your friends wont show up on an album page just cause they listened to it once. They’ll have to have listed to it “a lot.” Though, what qualifies as “a lot” will differ from user to user.
This is just the first step though. Spotify plans to keep chipping away from multiple angles, primarily social and curation. And maybe, it will eventually solve the problem of having 30 million songs but nothing to listen to.