When you have a catalogue as large as Metallica's, it's going to be hard to pick the right setlist to please as many people as possible. While Metallica are known for delivering epic, career-spanning shows, the band have found an interesting way of concocting a setlist for each show. Metallica uses Spotify data to pick their setlists for each city, according to Spotify's CEO.
Spotify CEO Daniel Ek did an interview with Quartz recently, explaining that the band has used the streaming data of different cities to see which songs are the most popular. Ek stated, "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." Drummer Lars Ulrich has been known to obsess over the setlists by analyzing their previous sets in the city and seeing which of their songs are in radio rotation there, as well.
Using streaming data to pick setlists is a pretty innovative way of making one! It certainly will help the band make a setlist that caters to certain crowds. If you're heading to a Metallica show and want to hear it live, maybe it's time to listen to it on repeat. The band is currently touring in support of 2016's Hardwired... To Self-Destruct, and will begin the second leg of their North American tour in September.