Spotify Users Accuse The Platform Of Pushing Sabrina Carpenter’s New Song To Get Extra Plays

Spotify Sabrina Carpenter Please Please Please streaming

Sabrina Carpenter is having a bit of a ~moment~. The pint-sized pop star is riding high from some profile-boosting events, including opening for Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour, debuting her first 2024 hit “Espresso” at Coachella, and having boyfriend Barry Keoghan appear in her “Please Please Please” music video

Her two latest releases are now competing against each other for the coveted number-one spot on the Billboard Hot 100, but is her success all organic? Some Spotify users don’t think so. In fact, some are taking to X (formerly Twitter) to complain about being served Carpenter’s songs via the autoplay feature, even when they’re listening to a completely different genre of music. 

“Like this [tweet] if Spotify automatically plays [Sabrina Carpenter’s] music for you too, I’m trying to see something,” fan account Mazzy (@mazzypopstar) wrote on X. The tweet has been seen over 39.2 million times, and has 304K likes. 

The user added that they were listening to Fiona Apple – an alternative rock singer – when Carpenter’s song was automatically queued up. 

“Spotify saying autoplay [chooses] similar songs so why are people getting ‘Espresso’ and ‘Please Please Please’ after [listening to] afrobeat and rap… her fans [are] in denial saying people are ‘hating’ on her and ‘making up theories’ like there aren’t thousands of people in the replies and quotes with receipts,” Mazzy added.

Other X users claimed they had stumbled upon the same issue, with one writing: “I was literally listening to reggaeton and then [‘Please Please Please’] came on, I was so confused, like no shade or hate but I don’t listen to her or even follow her on Spotify.”

“My husband was listening to a podcast in the car and it played ‘Please Please Please’, then ‘Espresso’ back to back when it was over, instead of the next podcast episode,” another added.

“I pretty much strictly listen to rock and metal (don’t feel like listing all the subgenres for those two categories) and somehow she’s recommended to me constantly,” a third wrote. 

“My baby was listening to Peppa Pig’s lullaby and [‘Please Please Please’] played immediately after,” another said. 

“I just searched Eminem radio and she was the third song on there,” added a user. 

Mazzy, the X user who shared the original viral tweet, said they wanted to use this momentum to help draw attention to Spotify’s autoplay function. 

“We are trending #SupportOrganicArtists please reply with the hashtag and support us,” they wrote. 

Sabrina Carpenter and Barry Keoghan in the Please Please Please music video

Sabrina Carpenter’s “Please Please Please” single has been stuck in my head for days. (Image: Vevo Sabrina Carpenter)

Why does Spotify’s autoplay function appear to push certain songs like Sabrina Carpenter’s ‘Please Please Please’?

Spotify claims on its website that the autoplay function chooses “similar songs” to the “album, playlist, or selection of songs” you’ve been listening to. 

However, the music streaming platform trialled a new feature for labels called Discovery Mode in 2020, and has since opened it up to artists. Discovery Mode allows musicians and labels to push specific songs in exchange for a lower royalty rate. 

In August 2023, Joe Hadley, head of global artist partnerships and audience announced: “We’ve been in testing mode, but the results speak for themselves. On average, we’ve seen users save Discovery Mode songs 50 per cent more often, add them to playlists 44 per cent more, and follow the artists 37 per cent more. And that’s just what they see in the song’s first month of Discovery Mode use.”

Sabrina Carpenter and Taylor Swift performing on the Eras Tour

Sabrina Carpenter has capitalised on the publicity she received on The Eras Tour with Taylor Swift. (Image: Getty)

On their website, there’s some more details on how the advertising tool works. There’s no upfront cost as Spotify takes a commission when it plays the song in Discovery Mode. 

The company adds a “signal” to the algorithms that “increases the likelihood” of the Discovery Mode songs being played. It doesn’t guarantee it, but from the stories on X, it seems to be working. 

“In testing, we’ve found that Discovery Mode can inspire further, commission-free exploration of an artist’s catalogue. During the first month that a track is opted-in to Discovery Mode, streams within Radio & Autoplay often lead to downstream, organic streams in other areas of Spotify as well,” the website reads. 

I’m a regular Sabrina Carpenter listener, so I can’t say this particular phenomenon has bothered me too much, but it does seem pretty jarring for some of the people above. It’s kind of sad for smaller and independent artists, but as always, money talks. 

PEDESTRIAN.TV has reached out to Spotify for comment.

Feature image: Island Records / Sabrina Carpenter