June 20, 2024
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Spotify is beginning a summer of podcast playlist tests today that’ll involve the creation of curated episode suggestions around specific genres, according to a source close to the company. Spotify doesn’t currently have a way for people to discover new shows, so this is a first step toward helping creators find a bigger audience.

Five playlists will start showing up today to around 5 percent of users in the UK, US, Canada, Mexico, Sweden, Colombia, Chile, and Argentina. The themes include comedy, true crime, geek culture, walking (motivational), and relaxing (mindfulness).

The playlists are expected to change over time as Spotify experiments with how to present them, which means they could update at different rates and feature a rotating selection of both Spotify-exclusive shows and third-party podcasts. It’s unclear how the curators are choosing the episodes if they’re creating deals with networks for placement or just picking content they themselves recommend.

Human-curated playlists are a great addition to Spotify, but they don’t totally advance the industry. More interesting to watch will be how data and algorithmically generated playlists come into play later on, as Spotify learns more about what people want to hear and what they enjoy.

At the moment these playlists are broad, but discovery could be improved if every person were presented with an individualized list of episode recommendations based solely on their taste. I wouldn’t be surprised to see this soon.

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