Spotify has been chipping away at the problem of choice for years now. When you have instant access to so many millions of albums at some point you cross over from being a perk, to being a hindrance. Its latest effort to expose people to new music and find the things they want involves building automatic playlists based on the time of day and mood, not unlike Google and Rdio. But, unlike those services, Spotify isn't limiting itself to music. The company also announced that it would be adding podcasts and video content to its platform.
The new Spotify "platty", as Abby Jacobson of Broad City calls it, is about feeding up the content you want as you want it without you having to actually dig through its seemingly bottomless library. Rochelle King, the VP of user experience and design at Spotify demoed how it works by walking us through her morning. Basically as she moves through her day, she swipes through playlists that are created dynamically just for her. That includes mixes specifically to rouse her from bed, songs to sing in the shower and when, she begins commuting, a daily dose of news from PRI through the newly added podcast feature. The idea is that Spotify will learn about you, your tastes and your habits and improve the quality of the content it serves up over time. This isn't purely cold algorithmic playlist generation, though: Spotify is tapping its growing stable of tastemakers to help craft these experiences.
There's more to the new Spotify than just serving up news and music catered to your morning drive to work. The app can also now use your phones sensors to detect the pace of your run and deliver music perfectly matched to the tempo of your feet. And, more importantly, it builds these playlists based on your musical taste, this way you don't end up running to Miley Cyrus just because the BPM happens to match your slow and steady marathon pace.
A really interesting feature, though, are six tracks specifically created for running to. The "songs" (if you can call them that) are created by artists like Tiësto are exclusive to Spotify and morph to fit your pace. They'll slow down, speed up, melodies will shift... the whole thing is built from the ground up for running. And CEO Daniel Ek promises that it will begin to use this kind of thinking to build custom listening experiences for other parts of your life.
It's important to remember that this new Spotify isn't just about music any more either. Video and podcast partners like Vice, Comedy Central, Adult Swim, RadioLab and Team Coco are all on board. That means you can get your news, laugh a bit and then get back to grooving to D'Angelo when the time comes.