Spotify's Sulinna Ong talks global opportunities for Radar artist Griff

Spotify's Sulinna Ong talks global opportunities for Radar artist Griff

Griff is the latest artist on Spotify’s Radar programme.

As revealed by Music Week yesterday, the BRITs Rising Star winner has been selected for the global emerging artist programme, following support for fellow UK acts including Central Cee and Young T & Bugsey.

But Griff, who’s signed to Warner Records, is the first artist selected by the Spotify UK team who will also receive the same 12-month commitment from their counterparts in the US

She already has 125 million total streams and four million monthly listeners on Spotify. The One Foot In Front Of The Other mixtape is out on June 18.

Here, Spotify UK & Ireland head of music Sulinna Ong reveals her hopes and plans for Griff…

Does a Radar artist need to prove they already have streaming momentum?

“For the Radar programme, there are two parts: there's the main Radar programme, for which Griff is our latest artist, and there's Radar: First Listen. When we think about new and developing artists, that's a big range, it can cover the gamut of an artist who has just released a couple of tracks to an artist who is about to release an important body of work, which is the stage Griff is at. Central Cee has been at that stage and that's what we look for when we're making the Radar selections for the main programme. 

“As a music team, Griff has caught our attention from early on. We’ve supported her throughout her journey so far, and certainly now that she is about to release a mixtape and a focused body of work. Timing is important, so to have this all come together now for Radar, and also being the first artist where we have the UK and US going simultaneously with Griff, it is significant.” 

Why were you convinced that Griff was right for this round of Radar?

“She’s multi-talented, and I mean that in the truest sense – she writes, produces and performs her own work, right down to her very strong visual aesthetic. She has a clear idea, even at this early trajectory in her career, about what she looks like and how she presents herself to the world, right down to her styling and the clothes that she wears, to her voice and heritage. Being part Chinese and part Black is important. And how she presents to the world the unique talent that is Griff, was what fascinated us and was one of the key things that caught our attention very early on. Seeing her develop, the time seemed right to put all of Spotify’s editorial and marketing power behind it.” 

How has Spotify supported Griff so far?

“Right from her first release, she has featured and been supported editorially and in our genre playlists. What we've done so far, and this is even before our announcement of Griff becoming a Radar artist, she has been supported through our genre playlists on the UK side, but also internationally. That has culminated with Black Hole going into Hot Hits UK, our flagship UK playlist. She's been the cover of Hot Hits UK, which is the UK’s biggest playlist. She's also part of our Equal campaign, so that introduces her to a global audience, both visually in the marketing that we do, as well as being represented on platform and playlists. And now going into – really significantly – a [global] Today's Top Hits add.” 

There’s a documentary planned for Griff as part of Radar. How will the campaign roll out?

“We have quite a few things lined up for the 12 months. She's the first cross-Atlantic artist, she's got the documentary coming, there's also a bespoke programme of support, which will include original photography by Ronan McKenzie. It's important for us to [deliver] original creative with the artists as well to feature in the marketing. There’s a Spotify singles recording. We've got Spotify Storylines with behind-the-track information for the upcoming mixtape, where she will be giving her intimate revelations on what went into each track. Griff will have her own billboard in New York Times Square, as well as in London, Birmingham and Manchester. So for an artist at this stage to have outdoor campaigns globally is significant. There’s editorial support and, of course, the always-on social marketing that we provide during the 12 months.” 

And this global platform is a first for a UK Radar artist?

“Yes it is. When we’re thinking about what is going to be really meaningful for a UK pop artist at this point in her career, the US is a key market. So joining forces, and really understanding what is needed to play a significant role in her breaking [globally], this was born out of that. It has come through our discussions with the US team.” 

Subscribers can click here to read our interview with Griff.


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