Spotify CEO Admits Initial Doubts about “Discover Weekly” Feature
In a recent post on X (formerly Twitter), Spotify founder and CEO Daniel Ek made a surprising confession regarding the popular “Discover Weekly” playlist. He admitted that not only did he not come up with the idea for this flagship feature, but he also didn’t understand its appeal at first.
Ek revealed that when his team pitched the concept of “Discover Weekly,” he was unsure about it and didn’t see what made it special. However, as more people within the company got excited about it, they continued to develop it. When they eventually launched it, Ek was pleasantly surprised by the overwhelmingly positive response from users. Today, “Discover Weekly” is one of Spotify’s top features.
The Success and Impact of “Discover Weekly”
In 2015, Spotify launched “Discover Weekly,” a groundbreaking use of algorithmic personalization that revolutionized how users discover new music on the platform. Within a year, it engaged 40 million out of Spotify’s then 75 million total active users. Moreover, in addition to being a popular discovery tool, it helped attract new users to streaming services like Spotify at a time when many still purchased music from iTunes.
The success of “Discover Weekly” led Spotify to develop various personalized playlists such as Release Radar, Daily Mixes, and Wrapped, which showcased users’ favorite tunes, curated playlists for specific situations, and more. This focus on personalization has also influenced other streaming platforms like Apple Music and YouTube Music to create their own personalized playlist features.
Ek’s Insights and Lessons Learned
In sharing this surprising anecdote about his initial doubts regarding “Discover Weekly,” Ek hopes to impart advice to fellow founders about the power of listening. He emphasizes that not all founders have everything planned out from the start, and he frequently relies on feedback from his team, customers, and partners. Instead of sticking to fixed ideas, Ek sees himself as a curator or producer, assembling the puzzle pieces with input from others. He concludes by reminding everyone of the underrated skill of listening and vows to become an even better listener.
Ek has also been using X to share insights about being a founder and his decision-making process at Spotify. These posts cover topics such as Spotify’s brand identity, carving out screen-free time for reflection, and overcoming the desire to be liked as a boss. His posts have garnered attention and received feedback from notable figures like Mark Cuban, Alexis Ohanian, and Elon Musk.