What does Spotify's playlist consideration plan mean for new music?

What does Spotify's playlist consideration plan mean for new music?

Inclusion on a Spotify playlist invariably comes as music to an artist’s ears, and for a brand new act, it can be a gateway to thousands of new listeners, millions if you get really lucky.

Just last month, Dutch indie newcomers Pip Blom (who take their name from their singer), addressed the subject in a Music Week On The Radar interview.

Their early tracks, including Hours and Truth, transported Blom from her Amsterdam bedroom into a tour van and overseas, such was the extent of the pick up.

Although Blom told us that “Guitar music probably isn’t the biggest genre at the moment,” she noted: “A lot of people discover our music through Spotify, and without the streaming services, we would never have an international audience like this. It’s really cool.”

There you have it: playlists work for new artists, in this case at least.

So managers and their acts across the land – or “from Brasil, to Japan to Turkey” as Spotify put it in their statement – will be rejoicing over the news that the streaming giant is actively trying to make it easier for emerging talent to connect with its 100-strong team of editors.

The introduction of the new beta feature, accessible through Spotify for Artists or Spotify Analytics, allows users to select one unreleased song for playlist consideration.

Then comes the wait to strike it lucky. To increase the chance of that happening, users are encouraged to beef their submission up with as much information as possible – genre, mood and all the usual details. Spotify will then feed that into its existing data on the act in question and their fans.

Anything that can make it easier for new artists to gain wider recognition should be applauded

The song will also appear in the Release Radar playlist of every one of the artist’s followers, meaning full control over which track is being promoted.

According to Nick Holmstén, VP of Content & global head of Shows & Editorial, “The number one question we get from labels, artists and their teams is: who do I speak to to get on Rap Caviar, Hot Country, ¡Viva Latino!, Ultimate Indie or other Spotify playlists?”

He added that the beta feature – which is in its initial stages and may change – has been launched after absorbing feedback from the artists themselves.

“We’ve developed a new feature that enables them to easily submit unreleased music for playlist consideration to our entire worldwide team of playlist editors,” said Holmstén.

Spotify were careful to point out that it is not possible to pay for playlist inclusion. The statement also pointed out that more than 75,000 artists are featured on its editorial playlists each week, and another 150,000 on Discover Weekly.

So what does this mean for the streaming giant? Is it encroaching on SoundCloud’s turf as the platform next-door, easily approachable and a fertile breeding ground for new artists? Perhaps.

Either way, anything that can make the journey from complete unknown to wider recognition easier for new acts and their teams should be applauded.

Last year, Austin Daboh, senior editor at Spotify UK, was waxing lyrical in our pages about playlist support for the acts on the bill for Spotify’s inaugural Who We Be event.

He picked out Hardy Caprio, who blew up with a song that has now been streamed almost 30 million times on the platform.

It’s called Unsigned, a bracket the South London rapper no longer falls into.

Everyone involved with new music can now hope that Spotify is making it easier for emerging artists to take flight in similar fashion.

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