Spotify hasn’t exactly talked down its ‘New Music Friday’ playlist in recent times: it’s more that the streaming service has been keen to steer artists and labels away from making a slot on the playlist their main marketing goal. Messages coming out of Spotify both in public and in private have included: that artists need to have a wider plan (or ‘story’); that getting on ‘New Music Friday’ too early or with the wrong track can be counter-productive’; and thus that the rest of Spotify’s network of playlists offers lots of opportunities.

These messages have been taken on board and acted on, but ‘New Music Friday’ is still a big flagship for Spotify, so a “global rebrand” of the playlist is notable news. Even if in this case, that doesn’t mean a new name, or changes to its structure. The core of the playlist itself is not changing – it is still full of the new releases that Spotify’s teams of editors want to draw most attention to – but it has a new logo and new visual identity. Spotify is also throwing some marketing heft behind it, with billboards in Los Angeles and New York plus a heavy social media push.

That includes enlisting artists with a new ‘branded card’ for anyone featured in the US version of ‘New Music Friday’, which has more than 3.6 million followers, so that they can trumpet their inclusion in that week’s playlist on the socials. It’s similar to the sharing cards for Spotify’s annual ‘Wrapped’ promotion. In its blog post announcing the rebranding, Spotify suggested that localised versions of ‘New Music Friday’ will also be getting this feature in the months to come – across all its versions, the playlist has more than eight million followers.

“Our playlist has long been considered a destination for discovery and an important springboard for artists and their new music, and we are thrilled to be providing a newly revamped version,” said Jeremy Erlich, the former UMG and Interscope exec who is now Spotify’s co-head of music alongside Marian Dicus – the pair were acting co-heads following the departure of head of music Nick Holmsten last year, but they’ve now taken on the joint role permanently.

But to return to the importance of ‘New Music Friday’, Chartmetric’s data shows that the US version is only the 41st biggest playlist* on Spotify in terms of followers, behind the likes of ‘90s Rock Anthems’, ‘Top Hits Philippines’ and ‘Songs to Sing in the Shower’, let alone the biggest brands ‘Today’s Top Hits’ (25.8 million followers), ‘RapCaviar’ (12.7 million) and ‘Viva Latino’ (10.6 million). But don’t be misled by follower counts as the only measure of importance on Spotify: ‘New Music Friday’ continues to be a crucial springboard onto many of those bigger playlists for tracks that perform well.

*If you added all the localised versions of ‘New Music Friday’ together, though, it’d be seventh or eighth.

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