User Behavior: Spotify

Spotify premium allows users to pick exactly what song they want to listen to whenever they want to listen to it. If you chose to download the song you can even listen to it when you’re not on WiFi without using data. In this blog post I will analyze scholarly articles that researched the understanding of users behavior when using Spotify (Zhang, Kreitz, Isaksson, Ubillos).

During the time of the study the premium feature allowed researchers to study long-term user behavior as well as making comparative studies of user behavior on desktop and mobile devices. A premium account was required to do any research on a smartphone client. The data from this study was collected directly by Spotify from 2010-2011.


From research it was observed that there is a strong daily pattern and significant variation of hourly arrival rates. The session arrival rate is lowest around 2 a.m. and increases sharply up until 9-10 a.m., which the researchers define as the morning peak. After the morning peak there is a drop during the mid-day lunch break time during weekdays. After the lunch break the rate increases again and the daily peak is reached at roughly 6-7 p.m., which they call the evening peak.

It was found that the morning peak of mobile session during weekdays is often one hour ahead of desktop sessions, and it’s believed to be because people are using the Spotify mobile app while commuting to work and then once arriving to work using Spotify on their desktop. This data is observed for the weekdays, and the weekend effect explains that both the morning peak and lunch break dip disappear and the commuting effect also disappears since it is the weekend, when people typically don’t have work.


This information is important in understanding people’s behaviors about when they listen to music through out the day. The researchers believe many users launch Spotify to have background music playing at work, and this is why there is a morning peak of session arrivals, which match up with the session length. They know this is valid because during the weekends the morning peak session length disappears. They found that mobile sessions are much shorter than desktop sessions. The usage pattern between desktop and mobile sessions is dramatically different.

Spotify users favorite time of day to use the service is from noon to midnight on any given day. For mobile users the favorite time of day is from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and for desktop users it’s 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. They believe this is because many Spotify users tend to use desktops rather than mobile devices after they arrive home from work. I wonder if this would still be true today, 5 years later, with the use of mobile devices spiking. It would be interested to see this data tested from 2016-2017.


Unfortunately there is not much else known about behavioral patterns for Spotify users. Since Spotify is still relatively new little is known about the behavioral patterns of its users, or in other music streaming systems.

The researchers concluded that there were session arrival, session length, and playback patterns that were exhibited daily. It’s safe to say that people who have Spotify premium (paying for it) tend to use it every day of the week in a pattern. Users also have a favorite time of day in which they like to access Spotify. Overall these findings help expand our understanding of user behavior in Spotify, and stipulate new insights of user behavior in other music streaming services.

To my best knowledge there have been no studies on the impacts on society by Spotify or of music-streaming services. The effects found by these researchers were neither positive nor negative but instead just quantitative results of users listening behaviors.

All information found from:




Don’t Worry, Be Happy.. that Spotify perfected the playlist algorithm.

In the spring of 2007 Spotify released its first public beta, and in the summer of 2011, Spotify was launched in the United States. At first many people thought, “Why do we need another music streaming service?” but to everyone’s surprise it was a music streaming service that they wanted. Spotify now has close to 100 million users who are actively using the service. Out of those 100 million users, 30 million actually pay for a subscription. According to Forbes, it took Spotify about five and a half years from its launch to hit 10 million subscribers, and one year later it secured another 10 million coming in with a total of 20 million subscribers. Nine months later Spotify finally reached the number we are at today with 30 million subscribers. It is predicted that by early 2017 Spotify will have close to 40 million subscribers (Forbes). Spotify diffused rather quickly, “To put that number in perspective, Apple Music only has about 11 million paying customers, and Tidal has just over 1 million” (Forbes).

Spotify can be streamed in over 60 countries, so it can be concluded that it is extremely widespread. If you go onto Spotify support, you can even sign up to get notified when Spotify will be available in your country.


On average, users listen to 148 minutes of music on Spotify per day (Business Insider). Over 20 billion hours of music was streamed on Spotify in 2015. It’s recorded that Spotify is the world’s top streaming music service in terms of active users, downloads and revenue according to this report.

Some other statistics include:




In June of 2016 Spotify reached it’s critical mass of 100 million followers, this is the point which should enable Spotify to begin improving its profitability.

Some sources still question if Spotify will make money after reaching it’s critical mass.



Spotify has become extremely successful in many accounts. For example it’s Discover Weekly playlists were a huge success to their surprise.

People truly love this feature:


Spotify is constantly announcing new features that buy into the “selfie culture” as Spotify CEO Daniel Ek put it.


On September 27th Spotify announced the new daily mixes feature that keeps your playlists refreshed. What does this new feature include you ask? Your answer: “It compiles six different playlists that are constantly updated based on your listening habits. Each mix contains over a dozen songs and more tracks load as you listen so you don’t have to worry about running out of material” (Engadget). This new feature includes an option to “heart” a song or “ban” a track to keep it from popping up (remind you of something *cough* *cough* Pandora). Music streaming is always evolving.

Spotify’s story is truly one of success. Sometimes apps don’t last but I truly believe Spotify is here to stay.

I, myself, was part of the late majority when it came to adopting this technology, but I am SO extremely happy about my choice to join. Spotify’s numerous playlist features are like no other. I talked to some friends about the product.

Melissa: “I love how your friends can make playlists and share them with you! With my busy schedule I don’t usually have time to find new music, so it’s awesome to go on and find my friends newest songs playlists or check out Discover Weekly.”

Brad: “Spotify eases my anxiety about playing music at a party, the pre-made playlists that they have are perfect to pull out in front of friends.”

Spotify is pleasing the people, giving them a solution to their problem. They’re offering the audience exactly what they want.

Here are some personal accounts of people LOVING the Discover Weekly playlists feature:

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Spotify is truly perfecting the art of the playlist and according to Matt Ogle 30 songs is the perfect length for your next playlist. Spotify has perfected the algorithm for playlists and is making your music streaming experience a fantastic one.

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Spotify Claims Streaming Music Throne Worldwide, But Pandora Is Still Top Service In U.S.



Introducing Spotify: All Your Music Streaming Dreams Come True

Spotify: that’s actually the origin of the Spotify moniker, which helps you “spot” and “identify” songs you like. Buying music is out and streaming it is in. Spotify allows subscribers to have instant access to millions of songs for the cost of $10 a month, and if you’re a student they offer a student discount of $5 a month (Don’t make me graduate). There is also a free version but you’ll have to listen to commercials and can’t choose what song you want to listen to on mobile, only on PC.

Spotify was launched in 2008, and was the first of its kind. You might think oh there was Pandroa before Spotify, but it is so different in so many ways. Spotify essentially lets you listen to 30 million tracks, every song you’ve ever wanted to listen to besides Yellow Submarine and any other Beatles song. You can choose which song you want, whenever you want, wherever you want, without even using data with it’s download feature.

Spotify allows you to follow people which means they can follow you back. You can also follow artists, and even people’s public playlists (feel free to follow my fire playlist).

Discovering new music has never been easier with Spotify’s Discover Weekly playlist, or Top 50. They also create playlists for you like these:

Screenshot from personal computer

Spotify not only allows you to pick and play individual tracks, you can add them to personalized playlists which you can share with your friends. Spotify also offers share options for Facebook and Twitter so you can let your friends know what you’re listening at all times.

Spotify is most popularly used as an app on smartphones but is also accessible by tablet, PC, and even television-connected set top boxes (including game consoles). There are different capabilities on all of these platforms, but each are centered around streaming music. For example, on the PC version of Spotify you are able to see who you follow and what they are listening to at the same time you have it open.

Screenshot from personal computer

Spotify reaches 58 countries worldwide and has 60 million active users. From a communication standpoint, that’s pretty incredible in terms of streaming music. 60 million people are able to access whatever song they want essentially whenever they want. They also have stations and podcasts for you to listen to as well as local files from your device so you never have to miss a song that you like.

Here is an example of your browsing options on Spotify on your computer :

Screenshot from personal computer

Here is an example of your browsing options on Spotify on your smartphone:

Screenshot from personal phone

Spotify is the first music streaming system to allow you to listen to any music you choose offline. Spotify Premium, allows you to download music to the app so it’s available to play even without an internet connection. You can have up to 3,333 songs available for offline listening, on a maximum of 3 different devices.

One feature that I love is how you are able to add songs to your queue. The Play Queue lets you build the queue of songs you want to hear as you go about your day or night. Consider it a temporary playlist. I tend to use this option before I drive so I don’t have to distract myself at the wheel by changing the song. On a PC just hit the “…” and “Add to Queue”.

Screenshot from personal computer

On your cellphone hit the “…” and get this screen and hit “Add to Up Next”:

Screenshot from personal phone

Spotify versus Pandora

Spotify is a technical innovation of its time. Before Spotify the most popular streaming system (aside from iTunes) was Pandora. Pandora is a radio streaming service that allows users to create a “radio station” based on artists, songs, or genres that they already like. Pandora then finds songs that are similar musically by using their Music Genome Project.  Pandora was a great resource for discovering new music that matched your taste, but Spotify allows users to share and follow music that they already love while still allowing the user to discover new music through the browse section. Spotify would seem like the underdog, but Pandora only has 3.5 million paying customers.



Spotify versus Apple Music

A lot of people would agree that Spotify’s layout and interface is similar to that of iTunes, letting you browse music by artist, album, song name, genre, record label or playlist. You can also locate artists and songs through keyword searches. Apple Music came out in 2015, 7 years after Spotify. Spotify was truly the first of it’s kind. You could argue that Apple Music copied Spotify down to the price and student discount. They do however offer a family account with up to six users for only $15 a month. Apple Music does not have a free ad-supported tier (Source).


Other streaming services that are available are new are Soundcloud and TIDAL. These are definitely gaining some traction, but they’re not nearly as popular as Spotify, Apple Music, and Pandora. Streaming music is on the rise. Today we are used to having everything at the touch of our fingertips and Spotify is no exception. As consumers and music listeners we want to listen to what we want when we want to, and Spotify allows for us to do that. I can’t imagine what music streaming technology will come out next, or even what Spotify will come out with next.

Pro tips: Here’s a fun video for the more avid Spotify user.


Sources :