This week’s big story about Spotify playlists has been the series of revelations about the actually-not-so-fake-really artists on the streaming service whose tracks were being prominently featured on some popular mood playlists.
Some turned out to be Swedish songwriters and producers while others were on the roster of production-music firm Epidemic Sound. We can recommend The Guardian’s review of their work – “I have been listening to gentle piano instrumentals not unlike the music Yann Tiersen composed for the soundtrack of Amélie all day, and I suspect I reached the limits of my tolerance for it some hours back” – if you’d like a light-hearted take on the affair.
One of the genuine reasons for discord here comes from labels who find the process of pitching their music to Spotify’s big playlists frustrating – for whatever reason – and so aren’t impressed by seeing some of those prominent slots seemingly commissioned out in a production-music style way. It stands to reason, then, that one way to ease these complaints is for Spotify to make improvements to the way its playlist-pitching process works for labels.
Cue these details in a wider Billboard piece about pitching to streaming services. “Spotify has been scrambling to launch an official channel for labels and artists to submit music for playlist consideration, with the goal of ’supporting every release that comes out,’ says Nick Holmstén, Spotify's global head of shows & editorial… Holmstén says he hopes Spotify's new system, aimed for rollout later in 2017, will offer automatic playlist feedback to artists while helping programmers scan for worthy songs under their radar.”
With 140 million active users and a proven ability to break (and by some accounts, to bury) new tracks, Spotify does now play a role comparable to traditional radio stations, which in turn justifies an improved, formalised approach to the process by which labels pitch in their tracks. The less mysterious the process is, and the more feedback that can come back to labels, the better. Holmstén’s comments are a sign that Spotify is working on the improvements that, even without this week’s ‘fake artists’ farrago, would have been a necessary and logical step in Spotify’s evolution.
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