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Spotify’s Fans Also Like Section Has Changed

If you’ve noticed some drastic changes to your Spotify Fans Also Like section since last fall, rest assured that you’re not alone.

Around September, we started seeing and hearing from artists that their Fans Also Like section was much more fluid, and in many cases had shifted dramatically.

Spotify has not publicly commented on this, and there is still plenty of mystery surrounding these changes. But our team at Rise has been researching. 

While Algorithms are complicated beasts, we do think we’ve observed some changes in Spotify’s Fans Also Like (FAL) section.

  • The FAL seems to be heavily weighted toward, if not entirely dependent on, followers in common now.
    • Streams in common appeared to carry more weight, so playlists were a bigger factor, but that no longer seems to be as important.
  • In the case of Rise Artists, the FAL algorithm is often linking them together because of the nature of our Tout platform
    • If you’re an artist with a smaller follower count, or at least a large percentage of followers having come from Rise/Tout your FAL has likely seen more significant shifts.

Is my FAL section important?

Technically, not as much as you might think. While this might be counterintuitive, an artist’s FAL section doesn’t necessarily help nor hurt your profile. The appearance of being “linked” to another artist is not likely a driving factor in your overall streaming or success on the platform.

The big question you should ask

The real question is, what artist’s pages are YOU showing up on? 

One really cool benefit we’ve seen is that a lot of Rise artists are actually showing up on larger, more successful artist pages. That’s because our Tout platform features many very popular artists alongside developing artists, within similar genres.

Could this help smaller, indie artists? Yes!One cool example is a Rise artist named Taylor Barton with 859 Followers, a high percentage of which are from Spotify Conversion campaigns. Barton has 692 monthly listeners, and all of her FAL is filled with other Rise artists. But who is really going to be looking at her FAL section besides maybe Barton, her manager and maybe a few of her biggest fans? The answer is not too many people!

As artists we tend to fixate on these things, and apply more importance to them than that’s really there. But your FAL section is not going to make or break your career.

However there is a very successful artist in the chill genre on Spotify named Alek Olsen with 900K monthly listeners, millions of streams, and 36K+ followers. Olsen gets recommended to our Tout audience because he’s a top artist in the chill algorithm, so he probably has a few hundred followers in common with Taylor Barton, and potentially much fewer with any other artists.

Barton is showing as Alek Olsen’s No. 1 Similar Artist. Alek’s listeners might actually check out Barton’s music through Alek’s page, so there is actually a great benefit to Taylor, even though her own FAL section does not have popular artists like Alek Olsen in it.

FAL is a tool for discovery, not a ranking system

From what we can determine, the FAL section is just a tool for discovery, and is not reflective of an internal recommendations algorithm that Spotify is using. Many artists have reported on reddit that the artists in their FAL are not showing up in their Spotify Artist Radio. So as far as we can tell, it’s just for active discovery, but is not having an impact on the artist’s algorithm. 

Most artists seem to agree that the September update to FAL just looks bad, and isn’t as reliable of a way to discover new artists anymore, but it doesn’t appear to be doing any real harm to anyone’s algorithm.

What has Spotify said about the change?

One artist on Reddit reported Spotify responded to their inquiry about the change, “An improved Fans Also Like algorithm will be rolled out to 100% of artists by the end of September 2023.”

Others were saying they reached out and got similar generic responses from Spotify about the changes, indicating that this does seem to be a real change Spotify acknowledges, but hasn’t written an article about, or choses to shed more light on. 

What’s next?

As always with these platforms, it’s helpful to anticipate more changes could be coming too. While we can’t predict what and when, we do expect that Rise should be on the right side of any changes, since our artists are getting linked with successful artists, and our campaigns are built around authentic engagement and tangible results.