Spotify New Music Friday playlist favors indie, women, study finds

Spotify’s New Music Friday playlist tends to benefit independent artists and female artists the most, according to a new study.

Published in the International Journal of Industrial Organization, research conducted by the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota concluded that independent artists and women are the most prominent on the hugely popular reading list, which is organized weekly by the editors of Spotify.

In their research, co-authors Luis Aguiar, Joel Waldfogel, and Sarah Waldfogel analyzed “over 5,700 songs attributed to over 14,500 top slots” on the playlist throughout 2017. The researchers sought to find out if Spotify was showing a bias towards a certain group. of the artist, and did so by comparing the ranking of each song on the playlist to its streaming performances.

They found that on the New Music Friday playlist, music released by an independent label generally receives a higher ranking than its eventual streaming numbers would predict, resulting in an average increase of two spots on the list. reading. Songs by female artists also enjoyed a higher ranking on the playlist than their eventual streaming numbers warranted, albeit to a lesser extent, increasing them by roughly 1.4.

“Despite the challenges that independent label artists and women face in the music industry, Spotify’s New Music curation appears to favor them,” Carlson professor and co-writer Joel Waldfogel said in a statement. communicated. “After factoring in curatorial playlists rankings, songs by independent label artists are being broadcast less, indicating a bias against big label music. “

However, the research team pointed out in a press release that this result can only be applied to the New Music Friday playlist, and that despite the higher rating they can receive, it “does not resolve the challenges these groups face “.

“For example, music streams by women represent about a quarter of total streams, a small share compared to the number of women who listen, among musicians and in the general population,” the press release said. . “Instead, the bottom line is that New Music Friday does not compound the challenges these groups face in the music industry.”

The researchers also note that overall, Spotify’s top playlists tend to promote music from artists already well established in the industry. Spotify did not immediately respond to Varietyrequest comments on the study.

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