Spotify’s head of Latin content, Rocio Guerrero, discussed the firm’s approach to curated playlists, its plans for video content and the threat of Amazon’s new Music Unlimited service at BIME 2016.
Ahead of her panel session on ‘The Death of the Curator’ at the Bilbao music conference, in which the role of human curators vs data driven analytics is placed under the spotlight, Guerrero told Music Week that she believes data will never replace the need for human curators.
“You cannot replace soul, heart and passion, and knowledge of other cultures,” she said. “And culture can’t be driven by a machine. Only a human is going to understand what you feel when you’re in the shower, or when you’re making love or feeling sad.”
Guerrero also highlighted the importance placed upon recruiting the right individuals when assembling a team of Spotify curtators.
“A lot of people ask me, How can I do this? Of course, you can learn a lot from analytics and data, but I always say sociologists could do a good job, even if they don’t know music. One of the skills I try to find is an understanding of how human beings work. That’s as important knowing about music It might sound crazy but that’s how we work at Spotify.
“If we want to talk to a specific age group, say 50-70, we can’t make that up with machines, we have to have someone that understands that demographic,” she continued. “Same with millennials. We have to have millennials because only they will fully understand how to talk to other millennials. And it’s the same for local and global and cultural groups.”
On the topic of video content, Guerrero said Spotify will not rush into producing more content unless it is able to offer something fresh and engaging for its customers.
“We are going in that [video] direction, absolutely. But everything we do we test and we see what happens. We didn’t have playlists three years ago, but now they are one of our most important asset. But we’re going to have to do the same with video. We will be evolving our video content and we are definitely putting resources there for it.
And on the subject of Amazon’s newly launched Music Unlimited service, Guerrero insists that increased market competition is good for both Spotify and the rest of the streaming market.
“You need to be aware of what’s out there,” she said. “Competition is making us evolve quicker. If it didn’t happen we’d be stuck. On the other hand, you need to focus on what you’re doing, and I think Spotify has been good at that.
“We really tried to differentiate ourselves, focusing on an idea and building on it. It sounds like a cliché but we are here for the right reason. I think that really matters, and I think users can see that. And customers trust that voice.”