We all have that song. Yes, that one we can’t skip when it’s on shuffle, the one we listen to from time to time and it always makes us feel the same, that one track we sing out loud when it’s played live because that’s our song.
In many cases, discovering new music can be done not only thanks to new bands or collaborations between artists but based on a song we really (really) like. This is what Spotalike thought. Its premise is simple: “Give us your favorite track and we’ll serve up a sweet Spotify playlist with similar songs that you’ll love”.
From Sweden, as well as Spotify, the service can be used from the web and you only need to type the name of your favorite song. In its beta version (which means it’s on test), Spotalike it’s a tool for music lovers that have their favorite songs tattooed on their hearts. It was developed by the UX design agency Osynlig, and last month it counted a number of 403,000 users worldwide. The developers, who spoke exclusively with SPE, introduced us to this beautiful world of algorithms and programming married with music.
SPE: I’ve been using Spotalike for a while… For people like us, who get stuck on one song we love, it’s perfect to find new music. How did you come up with the idea?
OSYNLIG: It all began back in 2011. Spotify was newish and exciting but we weren’t happy with the songs Spotify recommended. It made it difficult to discover new music. So we decided to try to build a better solution. We looked into it and realized that last.fm had a much better algorithm for finding new songs, so we used that to create playlists and made it easy to listen to them with Spotify. It turned out to be that lots of people wanted a way to discover new music and Spotalike instantly got a viral spread to music lovers around the world. Since then we’ve continued to improve the product. Today Spotalike is more popular than ever and we continue to get new visitors every day. We think that one reason for this is that our playlists are neutral and not affected by what you’ve listened to previously.
“OUR PLAYLISTS ARE NEUTRAL AND NOT AFFECTED BY WHAT YOU’VE LISTENED TO PREVIOUSLY”
Is it one of those projects developers do for fun? Or did you plan it to become something more in the near future?
O: Spotalike is built 100 % on passion and we want it to continue that way. We love music and we want to help other people find new exciting music. We’ve got lots of ideas on how we could improve Spotalike but it’s challenging to find the time to develop it further. We are a UX-design agency and we need to prioritize our clients. Most of the work is actually done by our amazing co-workers in their spare time.
How was the development process?
O: At the beginning, it was pretty simple. We discussed making a service that created awesome playlists with similar music and one of our developers got really excited by the idea. He spent some nights and weekends making the first version. Since then we’ve made countless adjustments, started over from scratch, and continued to work on it. We’ve also conducted user tests to get to know our users better and made a road map for what the future could look like. We really enjoy working on Spotalike and hope to be able to work more on it in the future. We’ve got a new version almost done with lots of features we believe will be highly appreciated.
“A SERVICE FOR THE MUSIC LOVER, DEVELOPED BY MUSIC LOVERS”
Does the algorithm base the recommendations on the similarities on the beat of the song and/or the type of artist?
O: The algorithm looks at which songs people that listen to your song are listening to, and makes recommendations on songs based on that. That is also why it takes a while before playlists of the newest songs are available. It takes some time to collect enough data to know which other songs people are listening to in relation to the song you searched for.
Since it’s a ‘beta’ version, are you planning to launch a fuller version or is it going to be just like this?
O: We’re full of ideas and would love to work more on Spotalike than we’re able to today. That’s why we’re now making it possible for our users to support us on Patreon (patreon.com/spotalike). Becoming a patron will give you early access to new features and influence on our product roadmap.
Spotalike is a service for the music lover, developed by music lovers. And further proof that, when it comes to music, it doesn’t matter how much you earn, but how many songs you can sing at the top of your lungs.