How Does Spotify’s Related Artists Compare To Related Artists At A Music Festival?

Spotify is self described as being “all about discovering new music” — and they’re not wrong. In our year-end report for 2016, we found that performing at a festival increased a smaller artist’s streaming activity only in the weeks leading up to the festival, with little to no effect after the event, showing a dramatic shift in the purpose of festivals and streaming. Festivals have been widely known as the place to discover new music — an attendee would attend the festival, find new artists, and then go home and listen to the new music they had discovered. However the insights from our report indicate that attendees are now using Spotify and other streaming services to discover and explore new artists before going to experience them live at a festival.

This trend has in large been driven by Spotify, as they continue to develop a platform based almost entirely upon the discovery of new music. Many of Spotify’s most popular features were built with the sole purpose of helping users find new artists based off of listening history. For example, each artist profile on Spotify has a Related Artists section — a list curated from artists that have been listened to alongside each other or put into the same playlists in the past. Because of this trend towards discovery, streaming has become the more experimental realm of music where users try out new artists and sounds, establishing what exactly they enjoy before going to a festival where they choose to see mostly artists they already know they will enjoy.

Similar to Spotify’s Related Artists, Aloompa creates a list of Correlated Artists for each artist based on festivals they play. Since 2010, our apps have allowed users can create a personal lineup of artists to see at the festival by adding artists to their personal schedule. After the event, we analyze this information to create a correlation score between each artist at the event, based on the percentage of users that scheduled both artists. Since Spotify’s Related Artists are curated based off of streaming behavior, while Aloompa’s Correlated Artists are pulled from festival data, we decided to compare Related Artists to their correlation scores created at a festival. This would ultimately help us examine the parity between music streaming, a passive behavior, and attending a show at a festival, an active behavior.

To test our theory, we chose to use Country and EDM artists as case studies. We intentionally chose this path because we believed it would be easier to spot inconsistencies in the two datasets; country and EDM tend to play singular genre festivals, where a pop artist could be on a bill with multiple genres that are guaranteed to not match Spotify’s related artists. Here you will see an artist’s Related Artist list from Spotify, along with the correlation score for each artist on the list, showing how strongly correlated attendees at the festival believed them to be. We also show the artist’s Correlated Artist list that is created from the Top 20 correlation scores for that artist.

How Country Fans Interacted With Spotify’s Related Artists At Festivals

Want to read more? Click below to access the rest of this Festival Demand Report.