Spotify was recently spotted testing a new personalized playlist — the first one to mix music and podcasts, customized to users’ musical tastes. According to a report by The Verge, which saw first-hand the new playlist titled “Your Daily Drive,” the playlist features short episodes from podcasts followed by a curated selection of music that fits your interests.
In the case of the test The Verge saw, however, the podcasts episodes were in Portuguese — an indication that this was not meant for public consumption at this time.
However, the site wasn’t the only one to come across the test.
Several other users have also had the personalized playlist presented to them in recent days, including those based in the U.S. and abroad.
So far, the responses have been overwhelmingly positive (see below).
Spotify declined to offer any explanation or details about the playlist.
“We’re always testing new products and experiences, but have no further news to share at this time,” a spokesperson said.
The idea behind a playlist like this is interesting, as it would demonstrate Spotify’s ability to successfully bring its personalization technology to podcasts. This is something Pandora is doing as well, by expanding its “Genome” categorization technology to podcast recommendations. Today, its recommendation system leverages the Podcast Genome Project to learn more about what sorts of audio programs users like, which it then turns into suggestions of what to listen to.
Spotify, meanwhile, is best known for its hugely popular personalized playlist “Discover Weekly” which has become one of its service’s biggest draws. If Spotify were to expand that personalization technology to spoken word and then combine it with personalized music, it could potentially have the next big hit — in terms of personalized playlists — on its hands.
The “Daily Drive” playlist could also give Spotify a better way to compete with Alexa’s Daily Briefing, which has become a popular way that Echo owners start their day. Though mainly listened to in the home for the time being, Amazon has been working to expand Alexa to vehicles, through not only third-party devices, but also its own Echo Auto.
With Echo in the vehicle, Alexa users might begin to access their Daily Briefing during their commute instead of launching Spotify, as before. And once Alexa has captured the user engagement, it could be easier to then hand off those users to Amazon’s own music service, which is tightly integrated with Echo devices.
Amazon even recently launched its own free, ad-supported music service, designed to be played only on Echo and other Alexa-enabled devices.
Spotify has for some time been talking up its plans to turn on personalization for podcasts, as it delves further into the market through acquisitions — like Gimlet, Parcast and Anchor — and investments in original content.
In the company’s earnings call with investors this week, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek noted how important its personalization technology is to its new efforts around podcasts.
“Personalization is one of our core pillars of our strategy. And there, we are obviously really, really far along in music,” he explained. “Podcasts [are] a much newer space for us. The way we merchandise podcasts, the way we recommend podcasts is completely different,” Ek continued. “Of course, we want to expand on [the product] and become an even better experience. And there, personalization is absolutely key…we’re still in the early innings,” he added.