Spotify podcast discovery test shows some users curated playlists

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Spotify is attempting to tackle the podcast discovery problem with a new test that’ll start this summer. The service, which only recently added podcasts to its vast library, will present five podcast playlists to a small percentage of users in the United States, Canada, UK, and a number of other countries. Each playlist will be themed to help users choose which contains content most appropriate for their current needs and interests, including things like ‘geek culture’ and comedy.

News of the test comes from The Verge, which reports on behalf of an unnamed source that Spotify will present the curated podcast playlists to approximately 5-percent of its users located in the US, UK, Canada, Mexico, Sweden, Argentina, Colombia, and Chile.

The curated playlists will pull in content relevant to different ‘genres,’ which seems to include topics like geek culture and activities like relaxing and walking. Users will reportedly see a selection of podcast episodes related to the playlist topic; the company is expected to rotate the playlists it presents under this test.

The idea is that users still largely struggle to find new podcasts to enjoy. Word of mouth still plays a big role in podcast discovery, something Pandora has tasked itself with solving via its own podcast discovery system. Spotify’s playlists are curated by humans, according to the report.

It’s unclear how well these playlists will improve podcast discovery for users. Individual episodes relevant to a particular topic may help users find content that fits a particular moment in their day, such as when they’re going for a walk, but may prove inadequate for surfacing new shows that are overall suited to the listener’s tastes.

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