Listening Diversity Increases Nearly 40 Percent on Spotify

Note: On August 3, 2019, Spotify Insights will be no more. But all the data stories you’ve come to enjoy will be available in Spotify’s newsroom, For The Record. Head over to the site not just for data insights, but also cultural trends, how-tos, artist interviews, and more. Want to stay on top of all our latest news and stories? Follow us on For The Record’s Twitter feed, @spotifynews.

Any data provided herein is from Spotify’s internal sources.

The music industry is growing after years of decline, with the increase attributed to streaming. So if this is how people listen to music now, what does that mean for artists? Will they have an easier time finding an audience, or will streaming focus global attention on a small number of stars?

Spotify listening habits lend credence to the former notion. We’re seeing an explosion in listening diversity, defined here as the number of artists each listener streams per week. More artists per week = more listening diversity.

What’s driving Spotify listeners to hear more artists? As shown below, the majority of this effect is coming from our personalized and editorial playlists and discovery tools, including Discover Weekly, Fresh Finds, Daily Mix, RapCaviar, Today’s Top Hits, Release Radar, Baila Reggaeton, New Music Friday, Summer Rewind, and Time Capsule.

Spotify listeners are hearing more artists than ever. Since 2014, the average number of artists each listener streams per week has increased 37 percent, from just under 30 to about 41 artists per week so far in 2017. And the biggest increase happened in the past year:

Meanwhile, average weekly listening hours per user grew by 25% during the same period:

Considering these graphs, plus the fact that we added 20 million subscribers in the past year, it’s clear more listeners are hearing more music on Spotify, and they’re streaming a wider variety of music.

In other words, the pie is getting bigger and there are more slices going around.

Let’s take a closer look at what’s driving this increase in listening diversity. First and foremost, credit is due to the artists who make all of this great music that people love once they hear it. We’re helping them connect with larger audiences faster.

Spotify’s own programmed (editorial and algorithmic) playlists and radio features are driving this growth in artist diversity, as shown by the below graph. People are hearing more artists thanks in large part to Discover Weekly (launched in 2015), Fresh Finds (2015), Daily Mix (2016), Summer Rewind (2017), and Time Capsule (2017). All of these encourage people to listen to artists they otherwise wouldn’t have, significantly boosting listening diversity.

Our editors have also driven this increase in listening diversity, with top tier playlists such as RapCaviar, Today’s Top Hits and Baila Reggaeton (all released in 2013) having become integral to the success of artists in a variety of genres. Meanwhile, Release Radar and New Music Friday (in addition to Fresh Finds) function as effective launchpads for new music:

In concert, these programmed playlists and other offerings within the Spotify ecosystem create an environment where listeners are gently encouraged to discover new artists, find out when their favorite artists (or artists they might like) release new music, keep tabs on what’s hot in all kinds of genres, and rediscover forgotten gems, all of which contribute to listening diversity and more exposure for more artists.

7 thoughts on “Listening Diversity Increases Nearly 40 Percent on Spotify

  1. I’m definitely and outlier! I listen every Monday to Discovery Weekly (love it) and my daily mixes. I would also attribute the change to the fact that now when you are listening to an artist and the album is finished, you are prompted to the artist radio to discover much more musicians.
    I would love to see my listener statistics! I hope you will surprise us with an end of year campaign 🙂


  2. I think the more interesting stat would be how many artists first heard through discover and spotify curated playlist lead to a second (or more continued) listen. How many people listen to the created or curated playlists and never dive deeper to explore artists full discography? Thats the comparison I want. Are people using spotify to discover music, or just take the guess work out of finding background music?


    1. This would be a great thing to quantify, but I guess we know the answer really: only a tiny minority will hit the spot that makes a user want to hear more. There just isn’t time to look up 50 new artists a week and listen to an album each…


  3. Releasing the numbers for the first graph (listening hours per user and unique artists per user), not just percentages, is critical information for independent artists, in order to determine how many fans you need to earn a sustainable income. I’m sure Spotify shares this data with the labels who have an ownership stake, but it is wrong to hide it from artists.


  4. Beyond a mere correlation in this post, I have measured the causal impact that the adoption of Spotify has had on the diversity of listening and the discovery of new music. The study features a really rich set of metrics that nicely complement the metrics reported here. The punchline is that Spotify not only increases diversity in music consumption, but helps users to discover music they become to like more. The paper is available open access/free, here:


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