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Metallica use streaming data to plan live setlists, claims Spotify boss

(Image credit: Herring & Herring)

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek claims that Metallica use data from the streaming service to plan specific setlists based on what’s popular in a particular city.

The thrash giants like to mix up their setlists and wrapped up a European tour in May in support of their latest album Hardwired… To Self Destruct

Quartz Media (opens in new tab) say that Ek shared the news with the music streaming company during an earnings call this week.

Ek is reported to have said: “You have an artist like Metallica, who changes their setlist on a city-by-city basis just by looking at Spotify data to see which the most popular songs happened to be in that city.

“We’ve never before been at a place in time where you could make as many informed decisions and understand your audience as well as we can do now as an artist.”

Speaking with Baltimore radio station 98 Rock (opens in new tab) last year, drummer Lars Ulrich gave an insight into the makeup of the band’s varied setlists.

He said (via Blabbermouth (opens in new tab)): “I’ll sit and look at the last couple of times we played – whatever city we're in, I'll look at the last 10 years worth of shows from that particular city. 

“Obviously, there's certain songs we 'have' to play, but then there's the deeper cuts – and the deeper cuts I always try to vary. I try to vary six or eight of the deeper songs so you give fans a different setlist and a different experience.”

Metallica will head back out on the road from September on the next leg of their WorldWired tour, with dates planned across North America into 2019.

Metallica 2018/2019 North American tour dates

Sep 02: Madison Kohl Center, WI
Sep 04: Minneapolis Target Center, MN
Sep 06: Lincoln Pinnacle Bank Arena, NE
Sep 08: Grand Forks Alerus Center, ND
Sep 11: Sioux Falls Denny Sanford Premier Center, SD
Sep 13: Winnipeg Bell MTS Place, MB
Sep 15: Saskatoon Sasktel Centre, SK
Oct 16: Milwaukee Wisconsin Entertainment And Sports Centre, WI
Oct 18: Pittsburgh PPG Paints Arena, PA
Oct 20: State College Bryce Jordan Center, PA
Oct 22: Charlotte Spectrum Center, NC
Oct 27: Buffalo Keybank Center, NY
Oct 29: Albany Times Union Center, NY
Nov 26: Las Vegas T-Mobile Arena, NV
Nov 28: Boise Taco Bell Arena, ID
Nov 30: Salt Lake City Vivint Smart Home Arena, UT
Dec 12: Spokane Arena, WA
Dec 05: Portland Moda Center, OR
Dec 07: Sacramento Golden 1 Center, CA
Dec 09: Fresno Save Mart Center, CA
Jan 20: Little Rock Verizon Arena, AR
Jan 22: Birmingham Legacy Arena At The BJCC, AL
Jan 24: Nashville Bridgestone Arena, TN
Jan 28: Raleigh PNC Arena, NC
Jan 30: Cincinnati US Bank Arena, OH
Feb 01: Cleveland Quicken Loans Arena, OH
Feb 28: El Paso Don Haskins Center, TX
Mar 02: Lubbock United Supermarkets Arena, TX
Mar 04: Wichita Intrust Bank Arena, KS
Mar 06: Kansas City Sprint Center, MO
Mar 09: Louisville KFC Yum Center, KY
Mar 11: Indianapolis Bankers Life Fieldshouse, IN
Mar 13: Grand Rapids Van Andel Arena, MI

Scott looks after and updates Louder’s online buyer’s guides and also scouts out the best deals for music fans from every corner of the internet. He's spent more than 28 years in newspapers and magazines as an editor, production editor, sub-editor, designer, writer and reviewer. Scott joined our news desk in the summer of 2014, where he wrote extensively about rock, metal, prog and more, before moving to the eCommerce team full-time in 2020. Scott has previous written for publications including IGN, Sunday Mirror, Daily Record and The Herald covering everything from daily news and weekly features, to video games, travel and whisky.