They Know You Better Than You Do — Spotify Files Patent for Automatically Generating Personal Playlists

Spotify playlists patent
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Spotify playlists patent
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Photo Credit: Cofohint Esin

Playlists are a huge part of what makes Spotify click for many people. A new patent generates personalized playlists based on past listening activity.

Spotify is hoping to help music lovers discover more of their favorites by generating personalized playlists based on activity. For example, say you discover electro-swing and start playing Caravan Palace and Caro Emerald. Spotify can then generate a personalized playlist with other notable electro-swing artists like Dimie Cat and Yolanda Be Cool. But it may also incorporate artists from other genres you enjoyed, if they overlap with your new genre obsession.

The patent itself pertains to generating playlists based on the user’s activity history. It can retrieve intent signals from the activity record and analyze context information defining a context into which each action is performed. In layman terms, Spotify’s algorithms can decide what you’re looking for when you interact with the app.

The playlist “selects a first media object from the media content play history and then constructs an N-dimensional factor vector based on activity records and the intent records associated with the first media object,” the patent description states.

Spotify says this is an attempt to make social sharing features more relevant in playlist personalization. “Many features of the on-demand music selection experience are unavailable as part of the music recommendation experience. For example, features of playlist management, such as the ability to share a playlist, follow a playlist of another user, or save a playlist for offline listening, would typically be incompatible with or disjointed from the experience of a curated radio station,” the patent reads.

“There has yet to be a technical solution for resolving this incompatibility and disjointedness with little or no user interaction,” says the Spotify playlists patent.

“The example embodiment described herein address the foregoing challenges by providing methods, systems, and computer program products for periodically generating a personalized playlist of media objects based on a most recent taste profile of a user.”

“Because a group of personalized recommendations are presented as a formatted playlist, the set can integrate seamlessly into the on-demand music selection experience,” the patent continues.

So you’ve listened to an hour of electro-swing music, and the next day you open your app to discover ‘Your Recent Tastes’ ready for you. But that playlist may also include some hip-hop if you regularly listen to it.

There are a couple of different use cases presented in the Spotify playlists patent.

For example, a playlist may be generated based on the last time its seed song was played. From there, Spotify can continue generating playlists in the background based on the songs that appear in the new playlist.

3 Responses

  1. Pa

    To my ears Spotify creates personalized playlists so much better than other streaming services, more articles like this please. Looks like it was shortened.

  2. Pa

    To my ears Spotify creates personalized playlists so much better than other streaming services, more articles like this please. Looks like it was shortened.

  3. Robin

    Most streaming services do not get me the way Spotify does. I love listening to the beautiful and brilliant works of South African composer and improvising pianist Liam Pitcher, and now I get playlists made that are similar to Pitcher’s work. I love that. I am waiting for The DJ Company to become a wonderful part of Spotify so that I may listen to these awesome mashups and get customized playlists created based on their fantastic music. ??