What are you really into?

A partnership with Spotify to help users discover their musical footprint

The Brief

Our brief was to work with the Guardian Labs team to build an interactive campaign to promote Spotify Discover Weekly.

To reflect the uniqueness of Spotify’s Discover Weekly playlists, we designed and developed an interactive web application which generated a personalised musical footprint and genre catalogue, bespoke to each Spotify user.

the Guardian
What we did
Technical Development

"The team have just been amazing... they've been great - I'm already on the lookout for another project, so I can work with you guys again."

Guardian Labs Spotify What Are You Really Into 01

‘What are you really into?’ invites Spotify users to login with their Spotify account details to generate a unique visual footprint and genre list based on their most played tracks and ‘Discover Weekly’ playlist. For each genre, of which there are over 1,400 on Spotify(!), we displayed a description, suggested playlist and the root track: the root track is the logic for displaying a specific genre for a given user.

Guardian Labs Spotify What Are You Really Into 02

Our first step was a workshop with the Guardian Labs team to delve into their initial ideas and research the capabilities of the Spotify API. After a two week exploration period, we had a defined UX and information architecture which we were confident the Spotify API could support.

Moving into the design and build stage, our role was to provide technical development and testing, to support the Guardian Labs creative vision and ensure the design and content created by the Guardian Labs team was realised efficiently. As with using any third party service, there were certain limitations. To make the interactive both valuable and engaging, we exhausted the technical capabilities of the API to build an interactive that added value on top of what the Spotify app already offers, by delving behind the scenes of Discover Weekly to produce a visual representation of user’s listening habits.

Guardian Labs Spotify What Are You Really Into 03

After the build was complete, we entered into a rigorous testing phase. The interactive needed to be injected into the Guardian website as a javascript bundle and we needed to be sure the site ran smoothly across all devices and with the Guardian mobile app.  The unique footprint designs also added a layer of complexity; they had to be rendered on the server to display correctly in the interactive and then be flattened into an image that could be shared across social platforms.

We also required specific data sets to drive much of the content within the interactive, we used various sources to pull the data together, including the Spotify API and everynoise.com . The Guardian Labs team then had the challenge of mapping the data which included nesting sub-genres to head genres and assigning each a colour.


The interactive attracted approx 40,000 visitors over a 4 week period. The most popular genres as highlighted by the campaign were:

  • permanent wave
  • chamber pop
  • indie r&b
  • neo-psychedelic
  • metropopolis

(Most popular clicked on genres on results page: courtesy of The Guardian, 2016)