Skip to Content

Spotify Taps Hannibal Buress to Create Playlists

Spotify relies heavily on algorithms to offer its listeners interesting music. Today the company decided to see what happens when a human comedian gives it a try.
January 27, 2016

It’s interesting to see that Spotify has tapped the comedian Hannibal Buress to create interesting playlists combined with colorful commentary, as part of its In Residence show.

Last year, we looked at how Spotify, Apple, and others generate their playlists. With millions of songs now instantly available for streaming, the only way for companies to distinguish their services is to offer clever, compelling music recommendations to users. And while Apple Music launched with big name DJs and musicians providing playlists, Spotify has in the past focused more heavily on personalizing music by mining users’ behavior, and cross-referencing the habits of like-minded music fans.

These music selection algorithms are ingenious, and they can help you discover some amazing stuff (I’m personally a big fan of Discover Weekly, which auto-generates a list of songs you haven’t heard, and will probably like, once a week). However, there’s really no match for the human touch when it comes to putting together a creative playlist.

Anyway, I think Buress’s comedic commentary highlights this nicely. Previous hosts of the Spotify show have mostly been musicians, but it’s actually pretty cool to hear selections and banter from a music fan. You can judge for yourself by listening here. Be warned, though, the language isn’t exactly PG-rated.

(Sources: Fader, Billboard, Quartz)

Keep Reading

Most Popular

Conceptual illustration showing a file folder with the China flag and various papers flying out of it
Conceptual illustration showing a file folder with the China flag and various papers flying out of it

The US crackdown on Chinese economic espionage is a mess. We have the data to show it.

The US government’s China Initiative sought to protect national security. In the most comprehensive analysis of cases to date, MIT Technology Review reveals how far it has strayed from its goals.

Image of workers inspecting solar panels at a renewable energy plant
Image of workers inspecting solar panels at a renewable energy plant

Renewables are set to soar

The world will likely witness a wind and solar boom over the next five years, as costs decline and nations raise their climate ambitions.

light and shadow on floor
light and shadow on floor

How Facebook and Google fund global misinformation

The tech giants are paying millions of dollars to the operators of clickbait pages, bankrolling the deterioration of information ecosystems around the world.

travelers walk through Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport
travelers walk through Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport

We won’t know how bad omicron is for another month

Gene sequencing gave an early alert about the latest covid variant. But we'll only know if omicron is a problem by watching it spread.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose WongIllustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.