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Spotify Is Shining The Spotlight… But On Who?

Photograph of the blog post author, Mary Woodcock

Mary Woodcock


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So you may be an unsigned or small time band/artist, possibly struggling to be noticed or you’re just about to reach that all important breaking point? Well this week Spotify claim to have launched a new feature to its service to help break and develop new artists/music.

Spotify have launched their new ‘Spotlight on’ playlist which is to showcase emerging talent and songs that should be heard by the industry/general music lovers that you may not know about or are simply gaining popularity and are set to be the next big thing.

I took a look at the playlist, had a listen and yes I enjoyed it. However, I am wary whether the playlist really does what it claims it is doing. Many of the artists on the playlists I had either already heard of and where despite being new emerging acts where on major labels such as HAIM and Lorde which I enjoyed listening to greatly with their catchy and easy listening songs however yes they are signed to major labels. I was under the impression that this introduction of the Spotlight Playlist was due to the press Spotify has received about not caring about new artists or doing enough to help them.

Yes HAIM and Lorde are ‘new’ however they do have major label backing (no surprise as the majority of Spotify’s shares are mainly owned by Major labels) and surely if they were trying to rid this negative press they would showcase new artists on smaller/independent labels or even unsigned music? I’m sure there is enough great music out there that should be put ‘under the spotlight’.

I looked at the playlist and I mean come on there was Arctic Monkeys and Kanye West on the list. Granted there were many artists, rappers and bands on the playlist that I didn’t know and was pleased to discover but these other high profile artists don’t need this exposure surely?

I feel Spotify is only half succeeding in their efforts here and there is room for noticeable improvement.

Will Hope, director of Spotify Label Relations, states,

“Spotlight will become key for breaking artists and developing artists…it’s a long-term arrangement: when you look at what streaming services can offer, it’s that ability to build an audience over time, and the ability to control your monetisation over time as that audience gets bigger. For new artists, it’s definitely going to be key.”

My focus is on the word ‘new’. Some looked new to me but not enough. This may only help a few artists/bands also and the issue at hand was about helping a much greater amount of new bands and artists through the service. It does suggest to me that this may be more of a marketing effort for Spotify to improve its public image as opposed to marketing artists to get them noticed.

In fairness we may be asking too much of Spotify as a large amount of responsibility does come down to the artist/band and their own personal team over how well marketed they are but I do feel that Spotify have missed the point of their own initiative.

Do you feel this will be as claimed the ‘key’ way of breaking and developing artists and if so is Spotify really doing this right? Let me know in the comments and share/tweet this to your friends and join the discussion!

Also, here is the playlist that you can listen to in Spotify now:

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