POP! Goes The Discovery: A First Spin Of Spotify’s Discover Weekly

Wide awake and streaming.

Wide awake and streaming.

Discovery Weekly premiered on Spotify feeds everywhere on Monday, a “weekly mixtape” (as determined by the service) that is specially focused on exposing listeners to newer acts and album tracks/one-off releases that are customized to their tastes. With many streaming choices for consumers at the moment, including a huge competitor in the recently launched Apple Music, I have decided to stay with Spotify and keep my usual lists updated on there. (Of course, I’ll take up as many free trials as I can.) So, off I went into the unknown to check out what I could discover…

Due to most of my streaming activity coming from current-based lists, it’s no surprise that this affected my Discovery picks; they managed to assemble a collection of songs that were all released either this and last year. I’m sure this will change as my streams vary in the future. For now, the series of 28 (now 29, see below) songs chosen for me this week looks like this:

SAM DEW – “Air” (RCA)
ZAK WATERS – “Pony”
(Faux)
YOUNG RISING SONS – “F**ked Up”
(Interscope)
IMAGINARY FUTURE featuring KINA GRANNIS – “Forever On Your Side”
(self-released)
KOPECKY – “Talk To Me”
(ATO)
THE MOWGLI’S – “Whatever Forever”
(Photo Finish/Republic)
GIN WIGMORE – “New Rush”
(Island/Republic)
SACHAL – “Cover The Water” 
(OKeh/Sony Music)
ELLE KING – “America’s Sweetheart”
 (RCA)
ZAC BROWN BAND – “Beautiful Drug”
(Southern Ground/Big Machine/Republic/John Varvatos)
HILARY DUFF – “My Kind”
(RCA)
LORD HURON – “Louisa”
(IAMSOUND)
JON BELLION – “All Time Low” 
(Capitol)
SISTER SPARROW AND THE DIRTY BIRDS – “Sugar”
(Party Fowl)
ALESSO featuring RYAN TEDDER – “Scars”
(Def Jam)
SHEPPARD – “Find Someone”
(Republic)
ELLIPHANT – “Never Been In Love (RAC Remix)”
(Kemosabe/TEN Music)
KID ASTRAY – “It’s Alright”
(Cosmos)
ANGEL SNOW – “Secret”
(self-released)
RYAN CABRERA – “House On Fire”
(Dynamite Music)
ZERBIN – “Worlds On Fire”
(self-released)
JORDAN BRATTON – “Victoria”
(RCA)
COLEMAN HELL – “Take Me Up” 
(Columbia) **
MISS E – “Hummingbird”
(Tilted Prod.)
CRUISR – “Go For It”
(Vagrant)
BEN SCHULLER – “Breaking Out”
(self-released)
OH HONEY – “Sugar, You”
(Fueled By Ramen/Atlantic)
RACHEL PLATTEN – “Lone Ranger”
(Columbia)
KIESZA – “Stronger”
(Island/Republic)

** This song was added on Tuesday after the initial batch of songs appeared, with no reason given.

Label Breakdown
Independent: 12
Sony Music: 7 (8 counting “Take”)
Universal Music: 8
Warner Music: 1

Top 5 Picks
1. Elle King: as “Ex’s And Oh’s” goes to CHR radio, “America’s Sweetheart” could be the followup to maintain her momentum.
2. Zac Brown Band: “Beautiful Drug” is an obvious crossover single that should work well for the upcoming autumn months.
3. Young Rising Sons: I’ve been a fan of this New Jersey act since last year, and “F**ked Up” is a highlight of their live shows.
4. Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds: This buzzy band based in the Big Apple hits a sweet spot with “Sugar”, a tasty tune.
5. Miss E: A sync for “Hummingbird” on the series Orange Is The New Black put this music into motion, and it is a solid single.

Though only a handful of the acts were new to me, mostly independent ones at that, I wasn’t familiar with fifteen of the songs on the playlist, which definitely showcases the strength of selection in terms of deeper cuts and/or under-appreciated album cuts. I thought that it was particularly interesting that one of the major labels, Warner Music, was only allotted one slot in the over two dozen songs. I’m not sure that the snub was intentional, but a better distribution of bigger and smaller labels is something that a next update could improve upon. I also think the length of the playlist should be slightly longer, but that’s coming from a person who builds much longer playlists and listens to them for hours at a time. That being said, somewhere between 32-38 songs (let’s call it between 2 hours and 2 hours, 20 minutes) would be a little more ideal for me, especially given the familiarity of the acts in round one of this experiment.

Given the results so far, I would certainly use the playlist again, though probably more for finding or rediscovering songs from a band or singer I’m already familiar with rather than a totally new act. As a listener who views the radio, sales and streaming lists, reactions in the statistics from these mixtape additions could help to identify tracks that could work at the many formats or sync in advertising, both of which could lead to other opportunities and bumps in numbers, whether it be in social media, spins, etc. I shall be keeping a list handy; you never know when something might come back up on a blog post here!

Until then, let me know what you think of this new feature on Spotify. Click on the “Get Social!” tab at the top of the page to find PGTC on Facebook and Twitter and follow the blog by using the tab below.

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