Radio giant iHeart, though, would point out one central difference between its new Your Weekly Mixtape — a personalized playlist of 30 songs that refreshes every Monday, starting today — and ‘s hit feature Discover Weekly, which is… a personalized playlist of 30 songs that refreshes every Monday.
Spotify’s collections are “a discovery feature, first and foremost,” Chris Williams, iHeart’s chief product officer, said in an interview last week. “We want to make sure they’re getting a playlist they can sing along to.” If Discover Weekly is like a personal trainer you see to push you, iHeart’s Weekly Mixtape is meant to be like a good friend who’s going to give you something fun and comfortable, he said.
As streaming music grows in popularity, it’s opening up huge audiences to vast catalogs of tens of millions of songs. That has companies like Spotify, Apple Music, iHeart and others competing to figure out ways to narrow down those huge libraries to suit individual consumers’ tastes. A digital download library, packed with music that you already liked enough to buy, is simple to just shuffle and play. iHeart, Spotify and others are trying to figure out how to spin you a sliver of songs you like, without making it feel like work.
Discovery Weekly has been a hit for Spotify since the company launched the feature in 2015 and sparked a train of similar concepts from competitors. Spotify is the biggest streaming music service, with 180 million people using it at least once a month and 83 million paying subscribers.
iHeart, on the other hand, is the digital wing of the biggest traditional radio company in the US. The company doesn’t disclose monthly active users or subscribers of its streaming music service, iHeartRadio, but Williams said it’s on track to cross the threshold of 120 million registered users next week.
iHeart’s Weekly Mixtape was designed with a traditional radio listener in mind. Most of the tracks in the mix are meant to be songs you already know well enough to sing along with, similar to much of broadcast radio. However, Weekly Mixtape will vary how much familiarity is in your mix depending on cues that suggest you either like hearing new, unfamiliar songs or prefer favorites.
Weekly Mixtape takes its personalization cues from things like the broadcast radio stations you listen to online, the songs you give a thumbs-up (or down) to, the artists you search for and the artist stations you play.
By the end of July, all iHeartRadio users, both paid and free, will be able to find the Your Weekly Mixtape playlist in the For You section and in their list of playlists inside Your Library on iOS and Android, or in My Music on the web.
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