Spotify Tests Letting Artists Promote NFTs on Their Profiles

Stuart Dredge, writing for Music Ally:

Artists can already promote merch and tickets on their Spotify profiles. Now the streaming service is testing a feature that will let them also promote their NFTs.

Steve Aoki and The Wombats appear to be two of the artists taking part in the test, both of whom have been among the early adopters of NFTs. The test is currently running for ‘select’ users of Spotify’s Android app in the US, who will be able to preview NFTs on the artists’ profile pages. They will then be able to tap through to view and buy them from external marketplaces.

🙄

Spotify Closes Russian Office

Variety:

Spotify has taken several steps in response to Russia’s military attack on Ukraine, including closing its offices in Russia “indefinitely.”

The company is not disabling access to its service within Russia. “We think it’s critically important to try to keep our service operational in Russia to allow for the global flow of information,” a Spotify representative said in a statement provided to Variety.

Like other internet platforms, Spotify has restricted the discoverability of Russian state-affiliated content on the streaming audio service. In addition, the company has removed all content from Kremlin-backed outlets RT and Sputnik from Spotify’s platform.

When We Were Young Playlist

Playlist

Craig Manning, yes the same one, writing at Billboard:

Announced earlier this week, the aptly named live music extravaganza will bring together 65 bands from across the emo/pop-punk/post-hardcore/metalcore galaxy, most of which found prominence in the early 2000s. The lineup, which includes all your favorites from My Chemical Romance to Avril Lavigne to Boys Like Girls to The Starting Line to Glassjaw, invites attendees to grab their iPods, don their skinny jeans and Warped Tour T-shirts, and step back about 20 years. […]

Whether you’re doing your homework to get prepped for the When We Were Young festival or just looking to lose yourself in sweet nostalgia for a few hours, consider this playlist the perfect way to ring in your weekend.

Check out the playlist on Spotify.

Read More “When We Were Young Playlist”

Spotify Partners With Shopify

Todd Spangler, writing for Variety:

Spotify on Wednesday announced a new partnership with ecommerce provider Shopify to let artists list merchandise directly on their profiles on the audio-streaming giant’s platform.

Any artist globally can already link to their Shopify store if they have one from their Spotify profile. But now Spotify users will see featured product listings from Shopify on the service; during the initial beta period, Shopify merchandise will only be visible to Spotify listeners in five countries: the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the U.K.

To set up their virtual merch tables, Spotify artists must have a Shopify account. Shopify’s pricing plans range from $29/month for a basic ecommerce package up to $299/month for an “advanced” tier that includes enhanced reporting. Shopify is offering a 90-day free trial to all Spotify artists signing up for the first time.

A Cool Now Playing Widget for Your Desktop

Apps

Beautiful Pixels:

Sleeve is a beautifully crafted app for macOS that displays your currently playing track as a tiny widget on your Desktop. Made by Hector Simpson and Alasdair Monk from Replay, it works with Apple Music or Spotify and comfortably lives on your desktop without getting in your way. We’ve only been playing around with it for a day, but can confidently say that Sleeve is the ultimate example of a really polished and delightful app.

Sleeve shows the album artwork, track name, artist name, and album name on the Desktop. It’s not an interactive widget, so you can’t control playback using Sleeve (not that we want to). It works natively with the Apple Music and Spotify apps and doesn’t require your account details.

Sleeve is $5 and available here.

Streaming Music Payouts

This breakdown from Nick Heer about music streaming payouts touched on a point I think about often:

I get millions of songs for my $10 per month. In about the same timeframe in 2009, I also added Burial’s “Untrue” to my library. I have played the thirteen songs on that album 684 times in total, leading to an estimated payout of $6.84. My CD copy of that album probably cost $15, of which William Bevan probably earned just a few pennies. Apple Music obviously has not existed since 2009 but, if it had, I cannot work out how much less artists would have made if I had streamed all of my music instead of buying physical copies.

Somehow, we are still paying just $10 per month for music in an era where streaming must be paired with live performance to have any hope of generating an income for an artist, all the while fighting the paradox of streaming music, and artists are still getting screwed in the middle of all of it. There would not be a music industry without music, but the industry gets all of the money while musicians still have to fight for scraps.

Spotify Acquires Live Audio App Locker Room

The Verge:

Spotify has invested heavily in prerecorded podcast content, and now, the company is looking to host live audio conversations. The platform announced today that it’s acquiring Betty Labs, the company behind the live sports audio app Locker Room. Spotify didn’t disclose how much it spent on the purchase. 

As a result of the acquisition, Locker Room will stay live in the App Store but will be rebranded with a different name in the future on iOS and, eventually, Android with a broader focus on music, culture, and sports content. Spotify says it sees live audio as ideal for creators who want to connect with audiences in real time, whether that’s to premiere an album, host a question and answer session, or possibly even perform.

Spotify Launches New Pay “Transparency” Website

Wren Graves, writing at Consequence of Sound:

Spotify has announced a new pay transparency initiative, Loud & Clear, which is certainly one of those two things. This comes just days after the “Justice at Spotify” campaign organized worldwide protests outside of the streamer’s offices demanding one cent per stream, transparent contracts, a user-centric payment model, an end to payola, a switch to crediting all labor in recordings, and an end to lawsuits against artists.

New Spotify Patent Involves Monitoring Users’ Speech to Recommend Music

Pitchfork:

Spotify has been granted a patent with technology that aims to use recordings of users’ speech and background noise to determine what kind of music to curate and recommend to them, Music Business Worldwide reports. The company filed for the patent in 2018; it was approved on January 12, 2021.

The patent outlines potential uses of technology that involves the extraction of “intonation, stress, rhythm, and the likes of units of speech” from the user’s voice. The tech could also use speech recognition to identify metadata points such as emotional state, gender, age, accent, and even environment—i.e., whether someone is alone, or with other people—based on audio recording.

I’m good, thanks.

Spotify Announces Most Streamed Stats

Spotify has released the top streamed album, track, and other stats for 2020:

The most-streamed song of the year is The Weeknd’s “Blinding Lights,” which held out strong after being the second most-streamed song of the summer with almost 1.6 billion streams this year. In the second and third spots, respectively, are Australian ex-busker Tones And I’s viral 2019 earworm “Dance Monkey” and Roddy Ricch’s “The Box.” The fourth most-streamed song is the catchy “Roses – Imanbek Remix” by Imanbek and SAINt JHN, followed by “Don’t Start Now” by Dua Lipa.

Spotify Letting Artists/Labels Promote Tracks in Recommendations

Sarah Perez, writing at TechCrunch:

Spotify announced today it will begin to test a new service that gives artists more of a say in how their music is discovered on the Spotify platform. At launch, the service will allow artists and labels to identify music that’s a priority to them, and Spotify will then add a signal to help the music get surfaced by its personalization algorithms.

While the new service is not a paid promotion and requires no upfront budget on artists’ or labels’ part, Spotify says that the artists, labels and rights holders will agree to be paid a “promotional recording royalty rate” for streams where the company provides the service. 

Why Spotify Has So Many Bizarre, Generic Artists

Peter Slattery, writing at OneZero :

While the platform pays only in the neighborhood of a third of a penny per stream if you’re not Drake, it boasts more than a quarter-billion active users. So, if your music ranks highly for a search term, you can accumulate enough listens to steadily make hundreds, in some cases thousands, of dollars a month with minimal effort.

The key to success is to find a phony artist name that Spotify users are likely to type into search. Like Relaxing Music Therapy, some of these “artists” use names inspired by an adjective commonly used to describe music. Others name themselves after popular uses for certain kinds of music, well-known generic tunes like children’s rhymes, or entire music genres. Often, these creators optimize further by titling tracks and albums with related words and reuploading the same songs ad nauseum, which can look especially absurd when filtering to see just a single tune. Relaxing Music Therapy, for instance, has uploaded the track “Stream in the Forest With Rain” 616 times to date.

Spotify CEO Talks Future of Music Releases

Spotify’s CEO, Daniel Ek, talked with Music Ally about how he sees the music industry going forward:

“There is a narrative fallacy here, combined with the fact that, obviously, some artists that used to do well in the past may not do well in this future landscape, where you can’t record music once every three to four years and think that’s going to be enough,” said Ek

“The artists today that are making it realise that it’s about creating a continuous engagement with their fans. It is about putting the work in, about the storytelling around the album, and about keeping a continuous dialogue with your fans.”

Ek cited Taylor Swift’s activity around her new album ‘Folklore’ as just one recent example of an artist benefitting from that kind of effort.

“I feel, really, that the ones that aren’t doing well in streaming are predominantly people who want to release music the way it used to be released,” he said, as the interview ended.

Couple thoughts:

  • As someone that loves the album experience, I hate this. I barely remember to listen to singles when they’re released and then forget they ever came out. Fine, I’m getting old, but shouldn’t the next “model” for releasing music actually be one where artists can release music in various ways, that they think best suits their art, and make a living doing it?
  • Taylor Swift, and artists of her size, are usually the exception, not the rule.
  • Spotify is worth $50 billion and barely, if at all, making money. That’s not sustainable. There’s a reason they’re spending so much money on premium podcasts and other content that’s not related to music.
Read More “Spotify CEO Talks Future of Music Releases”