Spotify Fresh Finds Tech Insider

Following up on the success of Discover Weekly, Spotify now has six new playlists designed to help you find new music.

They're called "Fresh Finds," and you can find them in the Browse section of the Spotify app. Unlike Discover Weekly, Fresh Finds playlists aren't personalized to every Spotify user's listening tastes. Instead, each playlist is meant to show what's becoming hot in the music world within different genres.

Here's each playlist:

Every Fresh Finds playlist will be updated Wednesday morning with 30 to 50 new tracks. To make Fresh Finds possible, Spotify is observing the listeners on its service that tend to find new music before anyone else. Internally, the company calls them its "taste makers."

"We identify anonymously around 100,000 users every day who tend to know about music before it breaks out," Brian Whitman, Spotify's principal scientist, told Tech Insider.

Through its acquisition of the music data company The Echo Nest, Spotify then crawls 10 to 20,000 music blogs and websites (think Hype Machine) to find the new artists people are talking about online.

If Spotify tastemakers are listening to those artists, their music is worthy of Fresh Finds.

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"We're trying to figure out what new music coming into Spotify might break out," Whitman, who co-founded The Echo Nest before it was bought by Spotify in 2014, explained.

Spotify has already seen artists get big on its service and then land record deals, like the band Muna that blew up on Spotify before getting signed by RCA.

After the computers finish crawling the web and matching artists with what's being listened to on Spotify, then the company's team of human experts sort through the selected 300 to 500 tracks and categorize them into the appropriate Fresh Finds playlist.

The experts also sort the tracks in each playlist to create the sequence Spotify listeners hear.

"The computers these days have about a 95% accuracy in predicting the genres, but it's not always perfect," Whitman said. "Especially these days when music is crossing so many genres boundaries. Sometimes it has to be an editorial decision at the end of the day, even after a really good computer judgment"

Whitman described the discussions about which playlists to include in the launch of Fresh Finds as "pretty intense." There are all kinds of categorizing problems the team will have to consider each week. Does an experimental electronic song belong in the Basement or Cyclone playlist?

Spotify's music experts have to make those calls, and Whitman said they rely on the overall sound of the music to determine where it fits in Fresh Finds.

"It's more of a sound than a cultural genre at this point," he said.

During Spotify's internal testing of Fresh Finds with employees, Cyclone was popular not because people identified as liking ambient music, but because that kind of ethereal music sounded good while they were working.

One thing you won't find on Fresh Finds is the latest Justin Bieber single. That's by design. Fresh Finds is strictly intended for new artists who don't have high listening counts (Spotify declined to reveal the exact cutoff).

"The point of Fresh Finds is really not to promote Justin Bieber, he's already doing pretty good, but to promote maybe the next Justin Bieber," Whitman said.

While more playlists could eventually include bigger bands or even be personalized like Discover Weekly, for now they're about finding the next big act.