Katy Perry is the latest artist to get a promotional push from Spotify, with her new single ‘Chained to the Rhythm’ all over its service today.
That goes beyond placing it at the top of a bunch of prominent playlists and homepage promotion for Spotify’s 40-song This Is: Katy Perry playlist, though.
Bloomberg reports that Spotify is marketing the new track with emails to its users, a Facebook advertising campaign, and billboards in Los Angeles and London.
In fact, Spotify “will run a months-long promotional campaign leading up to the summer release of Perry’s fifth studio album… The company’s marketers will continue to work with the singer to prove they can help sell records and concert tickets better than any radio station or rival streaming service” according to the report.
There’s even a quote from Perry’s manager Martin Kirkup: “We didn’t ask for a billboard. They offered it.”
This is a return to BFF status for Spotify and Perry. This time last year, they co-hosted a private pre-Grammys party for artists in Los Angeles, with Perry fronting Spotify’s latest drive to court musicians.
However, by August 2016, Spotify was being accused of actively “burying” Perry’s comeback single ‘Rise’ after rival Apple Music and iTunes was given a one-week exclusive on the track.
While Spotify denied claims that it was demoting in its search results artists who prioritised Apple – “unequivocally false” – it did not deny suggestions that it had given ‘Rise’ short shrift in its most prominent, powerful playlists.
If that was tough love, the strategy appears to have worked, but the new marketing campaign for Perry is part of Spotify’s wider efforts to show how it can get behind new releases from major artists.
Ed Sheeran’s recent pair of new tracks were heavily promoted on Spotify, while the streaming service has also just teamed up with label Warner Bros on a teaser campaign for the launch of Prince’s WMG-era catalogue on Spotify this weekend.
This, in turn, is part of a wider tussle between streaming services on the battleground of artist marketing. From Apple’s work with Taylor Swift and Drake; to Pandora’s artist audio messaging and ticket pre-sales under its Artist Marketing Program; to Deezer getting up and running with its efforts.
All this reflects another important thing about the music-streaming world in 2017. For all the talk a year or two ago about services competing for long-term exclusives on big new albums or entire artist catalogues, that largely hasn’t come to pass.
While one or two-week exclusives aren’t unheard of – Drake’s ‘Views’ on Apple Music last year for example – the competition is more around artist-marketing campaigns and original content.
The competition isn’t entirely free of low blows: artists must weigh up the risks of being shoved down (or even off) the big playlists of services if they work with rivals, as last year’s “burying” claims illustrated.
In fairness to Apple, Perry’s ‘Chained to the Rhythm’ is the top track in its (UK) ‘Best of the Week’, ‘Today’s Hits’ and ‘The A-List: Pop’ playlists today, as well as placing highly in others on the service.
One last note: YouTube hasn’t been left out of the release-day party for ‘Chained to the Rhythm’. Although an official music video isn’t yet available, Perry’s official Vevo channel did publish a lyric video this morning: