Spotify has just unveiled some exciting new features at their Stream On event, promising to make music discovery more personalised and give artists more space to showcase their work. These updates offer a glimpse into the future of music streaming and personalised music discovery.
Spotify’s Stream On event last Wednesday revealed a host of new app features, tools, and changes. The second-edition event gathered A-list names in the music and podcast scenes, such as Alex Cooper, Ed Sheeran, Emma Chamberlain, Joe Rogan, The Jonas Brothers, and many more.
Some of the key takeaways from Spotify’s last Wednesday event that this article will explore are:
- New interactive vertical feed which users can scroll down to preview audio and video content;
- AI-powered features and tools providing a more personalised and effective music experience;
- Bigger space for up-and-coming artists to feature their work and reach new audiences;
- Updated Loud & Clear initiative providing more transparency on music insights and royalty distribution;
- New monetisation and subscription options for podcasters.
A Closer Relationship Between Artists and Fans
To kick off the event, Daniel Ek, Spotify’s Founder and CEO, talked about how Spotify aspires to be a home that inspires creativity and supports creators at any stage of their careers. “This is also what we’re building here at Spotify, the best home for creators where you can establish your career and where the world can be inspired by your creativity. A place where you can thrive and grow no matter what stage you’re at in your career,” he said.
The most striking change announced in order to enable Ek’s vision is a new app interface for mobile – a new Spotify experience. The new interface has a more interactive design and advanced recommendations making it easier for users to find new audio content. Additionally, it offers artists a larger canvas to showcase their creations, thereby increasing opportunities for underground artists to gain exposure and reach new audiences.
The updated design features a vertical feed which users can scroll down, similar to TikTok. A notable feature that aids in the music discovery process is the preview function found on the Home page, which allows users to preview both the visual and audio aspects of playlists, albums, podcast episodes, and audiobooks. To access this feature, users need only to tap into the Music, Podcasts & Shows, or Audiobooks feed like it’s shown in the image below.
In addition, the Search page will be updated to provide users with a better platform to explore different genres. By scrolling down, users will now be presented with short clips of tracks from the genres they listen to the most, which can be easily saved to a playlist. Users can also click on hashtags of related genres to discover new tracks. These new features make it easier for music lovers to find new sounds and for artists to gain more recognition.
Premium users in the United States and Canada will have access to the Beta launch of DJ, an AI music guide that can understand and accurately predict your music preferences, selecting what music to play. Even though the full version is not out yet, the DJ AI guide has already made some waves, with fans spending 25% of their listening time with the DJ and more than ½ of first-time listeners returning to the feature the next day.
New AI-curated playlists can also be a great way for listeners to find new tracks and creators. Ziad Sultan, Spotify’s VC of Personalisation, shares that this feature “takes personalisation to a whole new level”. One key piece to the success of this feature is the relevance of the content suggestion, only possible to state-of-the-art tech and with “the passion and expertise of [Spotify’s] human editors,” Sultan says.
One other feature that also enriches personalisation in the app is Smart Shuffle. Now playlists can introduce new tracks that match the original tracks already in the user-generated playlist. This is another way users can be exposed to “perfectly tailored suggestions” in a subtle and non-disruptive way.
Spotify’s mission is to create an environment where artists can thrive and reach new fans. To support this mission, the company has introduced several new features to help artists build their fanbase, get more exposure, and connect with listeners.
One of these features is Marquee, which is a full-screen, sponsored recommendation that promotes an artist’s new release. This tool is designed to reach listeners who have already shown interest in the artist’s music. Marquee is an effective tool for getting listeners to stream music on Spotify, and on average, it is 10 times more effective than ads on other popular social media platforms. This feature can be especially beneficial for artists looking to gain more exposure for their new music releases.
Another feature that Spotify has introduced is Discovery Mode. This tool allows artists and their teams to identify priority songs, which Spotify will then add to the algorithms that shape personalised listening sessions. This feature can help independent artists and labels get more exposure by making their music more discoverable on the platform. Previously, Discovery Mode was only available to a select group of major label artists, but it is now accessible to a broader range of artists and labels. This change is a significant step towards democratising the music industry, making it more accessible for emerging artists and independent labels.
Finally, Spotify has introduced Showcase, a new mobile card that appears on the home feed of Spotify users. The card is designed to introduce an artist’s music to likely listeners, whether it is a new release or a music catalogue. Showcase is still in the testing phase but will be more widely available soon. The feature aims to help artists increase their visibility on the platform and attract new fans. This tool will help artists connect with listeners who may not have discovered their music otherwise.
When it comes to helping artists create higher buzz for their existing work and future releases among Spotify users, the platform has presented the introduction of Spotify Clips and Countdown Pages.
Spotify Clips allows artists to add 30-second videos to their artist profiles and album pages. This feature gives fans a deeper look into the artist’s story and music while they listen. With Spotify Clips, artists can engage with their fans more interactively and visually, providing a richer and more immersive listening experience. This feature can help artists build a stronger connection with their fans, increasing their engagement and overall visibility on the platform.
Countdown Pages, on the other hand, provide a dedicated space on an artist’s profile and on Spotify’s home feed for fans to engage with upcoming album releases. This feature allows fans to pre-save albums, see exclusive videos, pre-order merchandise, preview tracklists, and watch the timer count down to the album’s release. As a result, Countdown Pages can help build excitement and anticipation for an artist’s new release, generating buzz and increasing engagement. This feature also provides a central hub for fans to connect with the artist and stay up-to-date with the latest news and content.
To ultimately support artists, Spotify announced a series of updates to its Loud & Clear initiative, which are aimed at providing even more transparency and insight into how royalties are generated and distributed.
One of the key updates is the launch of a new royalty calculator tool, which enables artists and rights holders to estimate their potential earnings based on various factors, such as the number of streams and territories where their music is played.
Another update is the expansion of Spotify’s songwriter, and producer credits feature, providing greater recognition and attribution for the individuals behind the music, helping to ensure that they are properly credited and compensated for their work. Spotify has also updated its user-centric payment model pilot, which aims to ensure that royalties are paid based on the actual listening behaviour of each user rather than the overall pool of streams.
The Future of Podcasting
At the Stream On event, Spotify announced several updates and changes for podcasters, including new monetisation options and features to help grow their audience. One of the critical updates is the launch of paid podcast subscriptions, which allows podcasters to offer subscribers exclusive content and additional perks. This feature is similar to Patreon and will enable podcasters to monetize their content directly on the Spotify platform.
Spotify also announced Audience Network‘s launch, allowing podcasters to monetise their shows through targeted advertisements. This feature uses Spotify’s data on user behaviour to serve relevant ads to listeners, providing podcasters with a new way to generate revenue.
Additionally, Spotify is rolling out new tools to help podcasters grow their audience and better understand their listeners. This includes the launch of Podcast Analytics, which provides detailed insights into audience behaviour and engagement, and the introduction of customisable trailers, allowing podcasters to create personalised trailers to promote their shows.
Spotify is also making it easier for podcasters to create and edit their shows by launching a new web-based podcast creation tool. This tool allows podcasters to record and edit their shows directly in their web browser, streamlining the production process.
Music listeners are generally excited about the new preview function on the Home page, which allows them to quickly and easily preview playlists, albums, podcast episodes, and audiobooks. The new search feature that displays short clips of tracks from genres they listen to most is also likely to be popular, as it provides a personalised way for users to find new music that is tailored to their individual preferences.For artists, the expanded canvas for their creations and increased chances of being discovered by new audiences is a major plus.
Industry analysts are interested in the potential impact that these new features could have on Spotify’s bottom line. The company has faced increasing competition in recent years, and these features may help them maintain their edge in the crowded music streaming market. However, some analysts have also raised concerns about the sustainability of the streaming model and its impact on the music industry as a whole. Overall, there is a sense of cautious optimism about these new features and their potential to benefit both Spotify and its users.
In conclusion, Spotify’s new features have generated a lot of interest among music listeners and stakeholders. With expanded space for artists to create and showcase their work, and personalised discovery features for listeners, these new additions have the potential to keep Spotify ahead of the curve. Undoubtedly, these new updates will attract more first-time streaming users and potentially convert users from competing streaming platforms, alleviating some of the pressure on the platform for a price increase.
Moreover, several new app features, such as the preview function, DJ, and Smart Shuffle, create new opportunities for underground and up-and-coming artists to be discovered and streamed more frequently. More streams can lead to more monetisable opportunities, which is quite critical from a strategic point of view. Strengthening the incentives for premium content offering will lead to more satisfied listeners, which will, in return, use the app more often, ultimately leading to a higher value of royalty revenue collected, fuelling the loop all over again.
Overall, the changes made on both the music and podcast side of the app, providing more monetisation opportunities for artists and creators, showcase the app’s strong commitment to support music stakeholders. The consequences of these decisions seem promising, but only time will tell how effective these measures will be.