It was taken for granted that the advent of music streaming platforms through algorithmic recommendations would increase personalization, discoverability and diversity of the content listened. But there has been many allegations over the last couple of years that algorithmic recommendations create filter bubbles and barely increase diversity.
Since their emergence streaming services have been offering various recommendation features, and listeners have been more or less using them, with various impact on the extent of discoverability and diversity of the content. Here is an interesting and recent article by Valerio Velardo providing some insight on this matter.
It is indeed a challenge to make listeners wander outside their comfort zone, the music universe they know and like. There are natural limits, like the time that a listener can dedicate to listening to music and discover new content.
"the way recommendations are proposed to listeners (UX and algorithms) leaves space for new initiatives."
In a series of articles, we are going to look at the offer of recommendation features, the impact of this offer on listeners, how recommendation algorithm are built, and the recommendation features within music platforms more global strategy.
We will argue that recommendation is still in its infancy and that beyond algorithm, the way recommendations are proposed to listeners (UX and algorithms) leaves space for new initiatives.
We will especially focus on Spotify because it has introduced key innovative recommendation features, but we will look also at the other major services (Youtube, Pandora, Napster, Apple, Google, Amazon, Deezer,...).
We will address the following topics:
Listeners various paths to pleasure
Music recommendation systems at work:
How are recommendation algorithms designed ?
Similarity: a relevant model ?
Satisfaction metrics: dictatorship of the skip rate ?
Benchmark of algorithms provided by the major streaming platforms
Recommendation UX within platforms strategy
KPIs, listeners satisfaction, discovery, diversity
UX: where are the features increasing diversity, risk taking, serendipity,...?
Have platforms tried everything?
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