Just one month after Spotify purchased The Echo Nest, the company that built the algorithms that power many Spotify features, for $100 million, a bug is causing some serious problems with Spotify radio.
Spotify allows users to create a “radio station,” a randomized playlist of songs similar to a selected track, album, artist or playlist, to discover new music based on what they already enjoy. For example, someone wanting to find more smooth jazz could put on a Kenny G radio station.
The bug appears to affect the algorithm that selects tracks for the radio station, causing Spotify radio stations to play songs that are so unrelated to the desired style that they are effectively killing vibes and disrupting grooves for some users.
For one user, a radio station based Danny Brown, an alternative hip-hop artist, played tracks from rock bands like Incubus and Bruce Springsteen. Spotify recommended Miley Cyrus on a radio station based on English indie rock band Alt-J, and another user reported Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On” turned up on a station based around The Smiths.
“A couple days ago I got Simple Plan on Sam Cooke radio, and yesterday Wanda Jackson radio tried to play ‘Lonesome Town’ by Rick Nelson about 10 different times,” Alex Abnos, a producer at Sports Illustrated and drummer for the band Secret Cities, told International Business Times. “Getting Simple Plan was especially weird -- hadn’t even thought about that band since middle school.”
A representative from Spotify said the company is aware of the “truly disturbing” bug, but he denied it had anything to do with acquiring the company that built the algorithm.
“I checked with my product guys and this is a known issue that is being addressed and corrected,” the Spotify representative told IBTimes, though the company has not acknowledged the problem on its community forum.
“Not much more to it [than] that I’m afraid,” Spotify said when asked for additional details.
Spotify boasts that it now has more than 24 million active users, and it is rumored to be planning an initial public offering in 2014. Spotify has faced increased competition from services like Beats Music and Google Play, and both Apple and YouTube are rumored to be launching their own on-demand music streaming services in the next year.
Have you been experiencing problems with Spotify radio? Let us know in the comments.