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Spotify's Discover Weekly reaches 40 million users and 5 billion tracks streamed

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What started as an in-house hack has become one of the company's most successful products

Every Monday morning, a freshly created selection of around 30 tracks arrives for each of Spotify's more than 100 million users. The offering is called Discover Weekly, and it has cracked the code on truly personalized playlist curation at a massive scale. Today Spotify announced that this feature has been used by 40 million users, an audience that has collectively streamed over 5 billion tracks. More importantly, Spotify has reworked its infrastructure so that future innovations can tap the same approach.

"Discover Weekly started as a hack project, and if ten other people had hack ideas we didn’t have the resources to push them out," says Matt Ogle, who helps lead development of music discovery and personalization at Spotify. "The update to the infrastructure will allow us to experiment a lot more. We can now do this kind of deep personalization at scale across a number of different products."

Spotify's revenue is way up

Spotify released it latest financials on Monday, and its revenue was up to $2.18 billion. It still hasn't managed to turn a profit, recording a loss of $194 million. But its revenue was up 80 percent year over year, while its losses grew just around 7 percent. If Spotify can ramp up some of its higher-margin business, like helping to sell tickets, or placing video ads, it might be able to finally move beyond the terrible economics of streaming music.

According to the stats Spotify released, more than half of Discover Weekly users listen to 10 tracks a week and save at least one of those songs to their favorites. The company is trying to highlight the boost in listening this feature has given to small- and medium-sized artists, and noted it will be sharing data from Discover Weekly with bands to try and help them connect with their newest fans.

Major releases are staying away from Spotify

But the company hasn't been able to stem the steady drumbeat of antagonism from the music industry. A number of recent editorials have hammered on the idea that streaming services like Spotify and YouTube are ripping off the music industry — artists in particular. And given the success of recent exclusive releases by major stars that kept their music off Spotify, the service is probably going to have a tough time winning over the biggest names with an argument about financial benefits anytime soon.