The best way to gain access to music was to listen to new songs on the radio. Bigger artists were assured of having any new releases play frequently on-air. It was not the same for smaller artists as they would need more than a stroke of luck.
Spotify, Apple Music, and other major music streaming services have completely changed this. Spotify in particular has been a huge game-changer thanks to its Playlists and how artists use them to make recognition on Spotify.
How Spotify changed the game
These playlists, which are created by teams of Spotify editors or even by individual users, make up a truly massive curated network that can raise a song or artist from relative obscurity to the podium under the spotlight in a matter of months. This is achieved through a system of beta tests and trial runs that means Spotify’s teams know which songs are going to make it big with great accuracy long before they hit the major charts.
The process starts with a team adding a song to a small regional playlist with maybe 50,000 or fewer followers, and then analytics look at how often the song is played, how many people are playing it, how far into the song they listen, whether or not they add it to their playlists, and other such factors. If the song does well in these metrics over a few weeks, then it’s added to some larger playlists with up to 500,000 followers, and analytics continue to watch its performance. If it continues to get played regularly by lots of people, then the song has a chance of making it onto the playlist Today’s Biggest Hits, which currently has just under 30,000,000 followers.
This process means that by the time a song makes it onto the biggest playlists on Spotify, it’s been tested so thoroughly that it’s almost certain it will be a viral hit.
Spotify, Apple Music, and other streaming platforms have become pretty much the modern way of music sharing and listening, and they have such an influence that the way that songs and artists break out.
The music industry has adjusted to the new trend, as managers, labels and artists alike have made Spotify and others the major platforms on which they release songs. Artists now promote their own playlists, where they feature their own songs, in the hope that fans will tune in and add the playlists. Facebook may have a greater number of users and YouTube will always be the king of views, but streaming on Spotify is the new status quo for music.
The playlist system also makes it difficult for anyone to buy their way onto the charts. Every song is put through the process.
The reach Spotify enjoys is so broad that fans of every sound, genre, and taste abound, and Spotify’s system has a playlist for every genre in every region. This means that it’s almost certain that an uploaded song will find its way onto a playlist where it belongs and can begin its journey to the top if it proves popular enough.
Spotify is also moving away from classifying songs based on albums or artists. Many playlists are designed to match a particular mood or activity; good vibes, sad songs, studying, sleeping, exercising, etc.
Spotify has seen to it that whether a song is from the world’s biggest artist or from a small town singer no one’s heard of, the song has a chance of being heard on the largest stage and being enjoyed by people who would appreciate it.
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