Let the music play… even when you are running #RDE16

At Radio Days Europe, BBC Radio 1 Music Director Chris Price (right) faced off against Spotify UK Chief David Cooper (below) in a session called ‘Let the Music Play.’

Price made an impassioned defence of humans choosing music for radio stations, and cited the high ratings of BBC Radio 1 and Radio 1 Xtra as indicators of the success of that policy, with millions of listeners tuning in each week.

Using the recently departed David Bowie as an example, he said, “the tools I will need to find the next David Bowie are passion not data,” urging music directors to get passionate about choosing new music and to trust their gut.

David Cooper on the other hand said data is the best way to predict what people want to hear, citing Spotify as an example of how much more we can know about people’s habits. Many Spotify users apparently name their playlists for their mood or their activities, giving the company a rich mine of information about what people listen to when they are undertaking activity based music listening.

Apparently there are 39,000 playlists in Spotify named ‘shower,’ giving the company a good insight into what people choose to listen to in the shower.

Cooper did say that much of the chosen music in these playlists are somgs that are already familiar to the audience, conceding to Price in regards to new music discovery, but he also said Spotify is now getting into that area too with new recommendations for regular users.

Another activity based music listening event is exercising and it is such a significant part of why people choose music that Spotify has now built a specific function into its service that can select music that is just the right tempo for your running or exercise. It detects your heartbeat and chooses music that is the perfect tempo for the speed you are running, as the video that he played explains.


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