David Gray

Kobalt and David Gray Reimagine the “Best Of” Album With a Dynamic Spotify Playlist

Fans have been enjoying Best Of... albums from their favorite artists for decades. And while there’s nothing particularly “wrong” with how Best Of… albums come about, we wanted to challenge ourselves, and ask the question: how can we make the Best Of... album better? That was the question at hand when talks around David Gray’s Best Of… collection began. What if the collection wasn’t a monolithic release, but a dynamic playlist, one that adapted based on what songs fans are listening to and in what frequency? Well, then you have something special. Then you have the Best of David Gray Weekly Spotify Playlist.

Using Kobalt’s technology, we were able to not just identify which songs people want to hear from David Gray, but also how those tastes changed based on a number of external factors. Playlists, placements, any kind of attention on one of David’s classic songs could drive it up the list. The result is a playlist that functions like Spotify’s already-implemented “Popular” section, but tailored to the weekly tastes of David’s fanbase. 

When speaking about this, Kobalt Recordings VP of Global Strategy David Emery credited the desire to see quicker reactions to the changing tastes of fans: “We didn’t just want to make a static playlist – Kobalt has the technology to create something special that changes and adapts with David Gray as an artist. We have noticed that the tracks that are most popular for David change over time on Spotify, and a lot of that is driven by playlists. This provides the chance to see an instant reaction to new tracks, just as much as older tracks.”

The result is a playlist that isn’t controlled by anyone but the fans; there’s no input from David Gray, Spotify, or Kobalt (aside from the use of the technology), so fans drive the order and the playlist’s flow every week. Or, as David Gray himself put it, it’s “an ever-evolving ‘Best Of’ that is different every week, every month, every year, every decade. The more you stream a track, any [of my] songs, the higher in the playlist it appears.” Where other Best Of… collections rely on a curated order and set of songs, the Best of David Gray Weekly Spotify Playlist can keep its dynamic nature going long after initial release; as David said, decades from now, it could still be updating depending on which of songs are popular at a given time.

And it’s not just Kobalt and David that are excited about the possibilities here; Chris Stoneman, a Senior Account Manager at Spotify, stated that with this playlist, Kobalt is using “our data in new and original ways. In re-imagining the ‘Best Of’ album for the streaming age, they’ve provided a better experience for fans whilst creating opportunities for the artist.” That duality is at the core of the Kobalt ideals: making the music industry better for both consumers and creators. With our technology, our partnership with Spotify, and a very talented songwriter and artist like David Gray, we can take a music industry staple and give it the Kobalt treatment to create something truly special.

Click the photo below to listen to the dynamic Best of David Gray Weekly Spotify Playlist.


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