Spotify is borrowing a page from rival Apple with the addition of a five-star user ratings system for podcasts — a new tool for sorting through the more than 3.2 million podcast titles on Spotify’s platform to find the most popular shows.
Starting Thursday (Dec. 16) Spotify is starting the rollout of ratings for podcasts, which the audio giant said is designed to improve podcast discoverability by highlighting shows’ popularity. The company says podcast ratings will be available in “nearly all markets” where podcasts are available on Spotify over the next several days.
Apple Podcasts has offered five-star ratings for several years, although — like many other user-contributed reviews systems — it’s been the target of complaints about “review bombing” by trolls trying to pull down average ratings.
On Spotify, users will be able to rate a podcast only after listening to a show, at which point they will have the opportunity to give it a rating using a 1-5 star system. The average rating will be publicly displayed on the podcast’s show page on Spotify, along with the total number of ratings the show has received.
Spotify expects user ratings will be another signal for listeners to discovery new podcasts, in addition to existing features like Podcast Charts and personalized recommendations.
Meanwhile, Spotify doesn’t have a similar rating system for music: You can “like” an individual song, though, and that data is incorporated into Spotify’s music-recommendation algorithms. The company compares the podcast five-star ratings to the ability to see the number of monthly listeners on artist pages — in both cases, the goal is to give potential listeners context about popularity.
“By introducing ratings, we’re making it easier for listeners to decide when to try out a new podcast that might be their next favorite,” Spotify said in a blog post. “Because podcast ratings will serve as the first chance to draw new listeners into a podcast, the feature will build instant credibility with prospective listeners.”
According to Spotify, podcast ratings also will give creators feedback on how their shows are being received — and then try to figure out what they could do to improve. The company is recommending that creators start building their ratings by telling followers to rate them on Spotify.
“Podcast ratings gives listeners an opportunity to support their favorite podcast shows, enabling a two-way feedback loop between both creator and listener,” according to Spotify.