Ever feel the pressure of curating a perfect house party playlist that everyone will love? Well, now Spotify will do it all for you...
Spotify is many things: a way to enjoy your most favourite music on the go, a way to discover new artists and genres and content, and a way to share music with your friends… and Spotify is always innovating – making sure you get the best experience from the service and finding new ways to help us unlock the hidden potential of music.
Last year, that innovative streak brought us Spotify Running, which introduced time-synchronised music to runners, and Discover Weekly, a personalised mixtape attuned to your tastes. Today, we’re back to talk about Spotify Party – its latest innovation. So, what’s it all about? We sat down for a chat with Spotify Party Senior Product Manager Mateo Rando to find out more.
The end of being “on trial with all of your friends”
Fire up Spotify on your iPhone or Android device (and soon on your iPad, says Mateo) and you’ll find a brand new set of playlists under the Party section of ‘Genres & Moods’.
But Spotify Party is so much more than just new playlists. Sure, each genre features three playlists, but they can each be altered on the fly according to your tempo and mood. Want to start things off mellow? Just slide the ‘adjust the mood’ bar over to the left – you can always push it further right later on to heat things up a bit. And best of all, Party will mix everything for you, seamlessly transitioning between tracks, as though there was a DJ in the room.
Spotify’s party playlists have always been amongst its most popular, so why did Mateo and team feel the need to change things up? “Party music is different from other music,” says Mateo.
“Lots of people expressed some social anxiety around putting on their own music.”
“We did lots of research with users about what would be helpful from a tech point of view, and lots of people expressed some social anxiety around putting on their own music. You’re kind of on trial with all of your friends in that situation, so it can be hard to make a choice for fear of getting it wrong! We definitely saw potential in that for something we could help with.
“That house party vibe really rings true with me,” he adds. “My best experiences have been with loads of friends, packed into a tight space, dancing and singing our lungs out to anything. It doesn’t have to be fancy, all you need is some good friends, good music and a nice space, and that’s really the atmosphere Spotify Party is going for.”
A huge part of that vibe comes from some new technology that mixes tracks far beyond a simple crossfade transition. We asked Mateo to explain exactly what’s going on under the hood of Spotify Party:
“Essentially, when we were developing our new technology we realised that we had full control over how we mix these tracks – we can mix tracks together as if we had a DJ console in front of us. So we can export them as files that Spotify can read and use to transition between songs exactly the way we designed. Effectively, we’re sitting here in Stockholm, throwing an awesome party and exporting it so that Spotify users can experience the same thing.”
“A crazy house party” with DJ Diplo
So, who’s doing the mixing? In this case they’ve brought in some outside help in the form of multi-award winning DJ Diplo. Between fronting electronic dancehall sensation Major Lazer, as well as being one half of collab project Jack Ü with Skrillex, Diplo has produced for some of the biggest names in world music – Beyoncé, Madonna and Justin Bieber, to name but three. And now he can be on the virtual decks at your party.
“Diplo was great to work with,” says Mateo. “We gave him some pretty simple instructions: ‘pretend that you’re DJing a crazy house party with your friends.’ He gave us a real sense of how he would DJ on that kind of night – how all the tracks would be sequenced, how he would mix them, and how they would come together to create a vibe and maintain the energy throughout the night.
“I’m a huge fan of Diplo’s personal Spotify Party mix,” he adds. “. There are certain songs that he mixes together that wouldn’t really make sense individually, but in the mix they tell a story. That’s something that’s really hard to do – it takes years and years of practice.” The final product is very much “a mixture of man and machine,” as Mateo puts it.
The party is just beginning…
The best news is that this is just the beginning. There’s already a good selection of genres available in Spotify Party, but there will be plenty more on the way, says Mateo, as well as regular refreshes of the current playlists too:
“We have a team of curators – real genre experts who live and breathe music – and they update all the sets on a very regular basis. But they’re not just updating the playlists as if they’re regular playlists; they’re intentionally trying to build a vibe. If they swap out some tracks that are a few weeks old and bring in some new ones, they’ll try and fit the new ones into the same flow of the energy, so that it still feels like a DJ set.”
But all that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the future of Spotify Party. “We’re also looking at partnerships with other artists to do music as well,” Mateo continues, “and we have a few of those lined up in the future. Plus, we’re always looking at ways we can improve what the ‘machine’ side of things can do. We’d love to expand it, because we want the machine mixes to sound as authentic as possible. Plus, if the tech can do more of the work for us, we can spend more time perfecting other things!”
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