Music streaming can be a trap for newbie artists: you can’t break through without awesome streaming numbers, and it’s hard to get awesome streaming numbers without breaking through.
Spotify is trying to level the playing field. On Wednesday, May 26, the streaming service announced its new Fresh Finds program, which will spotlight independent musicians in marketing campaigns and equip them with a variety of educational tools. The program is a spin-off of the Fresh Finds playlist, which has added more than 25,000 emerging artists since its launch five years ago. In 2021, around half of the artists added to the playlist previously had less than 21,000 monthly listeners, but the average artist sees their listenings increase by 108% in the month following their playlist, according to Spotify in a new blog post. The streamer positions Fresh Finds as a launching pad, citing alumni like Clairo, Omar Apollo and Amine.
Marian Dicus, Vice President of Spotify, Global Co-Head of Music and Global Head of Artist and Label Services, said the playlist’s success made the company understand that it was doing more to help. this type of artist was the “logical next step” in Spotify’s commitment to independent artists. . âWhere we can provide personalized and one-on-one support, I think that’s really meaningful,â she says.
The top four artists in the Fresh Finds program are Wallice, Unusual Demont, Julia Wolf and EKKSTACY, each with less than one million listeners per month. In the future, there will be two groups per year. Dicus says Spotify’s marketing and editorial teams are involved in the selection process. Spotify first used an algorithm to identify data-driven growth both on and off the platform, taking into account things like blog coverage and social discussions, before publishers pulled out all the stops. look at the music itself. For now, the Fresh Finds program is restricted to the United States, but Spotify is expanding the reach of Fresh Finds playlists, adding new regional versions in 13 territories, including the United Kingdom, South Korea, ‘Australia and New Zealand, as well as other parts of Asia, Europe and Latin America. “I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s something that [eventually] is deployed on a larger, multi-market basis, âsays Dicus. She says Spotify is also open to receiving submissions for the program in the future if there is enough demand.
Spotify will offer all artists involved a âpersonalized masterclassâ as well as credits to be used on Spotify for Artists resources like Soundbetter, where artists can hire designers to create canvases. (These courses are basically crash courses with Spotify executives on the ins and outs of audience growth and networking.)
Spotify will also provide opportunities for one-on-one mentoring with âas-needed artists,â although this component does not yet appear as fleshed out as others. The original idea was to connect the current class members with the alumni of the Fresh Finds playlist – “but they could tell us,” Actually, I would really like to talk to this crazy and amazing artist who is famous. of everyone in the world, “says Dicus.” So it depends. We don’t want to give it strict parameters. It’s about pairing them with people that they feel they can learn from.
Meanwhile, the company’s publishing team is teaming up the quartet with established producers to create original songs that will be released in June under the Spotify Singles banner. EKKSTACY will work with Jonny Pierce of The Drums, Unusual Demont with The Idiot, Wallice with Marinelli and Ariel Rechtshaid, and Julia Wolf with Jackson Foote, who are half of the production duo Loote. Dicus says Jonny Pierce is an “idol” of EKKSTACY, and Wallice, too, “always wanted to work with Ariel.” While Marinelli is already Wallice’s only longtime collaborator, the new team will see Wallice working with two different types of sounds in a co-production situation; Julia Wolf has also worked with Foote in the past.
Perhaps more importantly, Spotify will feature artists from the Fresh Finds program in a âmajor on and off-platform marketing campaign,â which will include docuserie-style social media content.
Wolf – a Queens-based artist with the lowest number of fans – recounts Rolling stone that she gets a billboard in Times Square. âYears ago, I was walking through Times Square and looking at all those billboards,â says the singer, whose genderless music often mixes electric guitar and pop and hip-hop rhythms, poetic writing. âYou don’t understand how people get to this point; You really feel lost in it. I was confused and just didn’t know anything about this industry. For Spotify, taking the time to look past the big streaming numbers and next count, and just look at the artist, post, and music they want to shareâ¦ It’s unreal.
Wolf prides itself on being very practical and tinkering with everything from music to visuals. While she only started releasing songs in 2019, she has been writing and preparing since high school. âIt was the time when we had lunch alone in the music room,â she says. âI knew from then on that was what I wanted to do, but there were so many dead ends trying to find people to help me. Half was being too scared to ask people for help, because you’re just a shy kid. The other half were learning to produce, send songs and make them unrecognizable. I just couldn’t find the right people to help bring to life what was really clear to me. “
While streaming services are often criticized for not paying a living wage to the majority of artists, songwriters and rights holders, they offer global exposure – and have therefore robbed the record labels of a considerable amount of money. power over the past decade. âSpotify and streaming have led to democratization,â says Dicus. âBut now there is so much going on there. This is really why we have built these tools and resources for this community. You will continue to see us investing in this area just to give artists more options.
So how is Spotify’s new Fresh Finds initiative a targeted response to the bad press about not being artist-friendly? âLook, this is complicated,â said Dicus. âThe folks at Spotify really are the most incredibly passionate bunch of people who care deeply about supporting artists and democratizing the industry. I think we’re taking it. [the criticism] on the chin. We know that we are the world’s largest streaming platform; it just comes with the territory. We really support artists, young and old. We also say, âOkay, 57,000 artists now make up 90% of monthly streams on Spotify, and that number that you can see has quadrupled in six years. Is it frustrating sometimes? Yes, sure, but we don’t mind that that much. Our job is just to create a ton of resources and tools. You might not use them all, but you have a choice, and it’s amazing.