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Is Spotify Successful Because of Behavioural Psychology?

Joseph Sparks

11th August 2016

Spotify is a music streaming app with over 37 million global subscribers, but is the key to Spotify’s success based on simple behavioural psychology.

Spotify not only allows users to stream all of the latest songs, but it also provides additional services like ‘Discover Weekly’ and ‘Release Radar’. Release Radar provides a playlist of personalised song recommendations focusing on your favourite artists (how thoughtful!)

These features are part of a clever strategy that utilises the principles of behavioural psychology. The playlist rewards users by providing exciting new music for a limited period of time. This cycle continually repeats itself every few days and provides users with a new reward and a prompt to keep returning for new and exciting music.

Credit: Bas Grasmayer as found on, referenced below.

The addition of Release Radar may help Spotify reach even more listeners than ever before, as it suggests music that users already love. Spotify is fast becoming a listening companion which finds new tracks so you don’t have to, making its customers psychologically loyal.

Reference: Wang, A. X. (2016, August 8). Spotify’s incredibly addictive playlists are based on simple behavioral psychology. Retrieved from QZ:

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Joseph Sparks

Joseph is a Subject Advisor for Psychology at tutor2u. He is an experienced Psychology & Music Teacher, Writer, Examiner and Presenter. He is currently completing a Professional Doctorate in Education and is passionate about the impact of technology on teaching and learning.

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