Spotify seems to have been happy for fans to do their listening on Spotify and to leave the stanning and the fan chatter to happen on other social platforms. It’s possibly partially due to the fear of being seen as creating a “social network for music” – perhaps the most cursed words in tech – but slowly, this has started to change. Recently there has been a marked effort to engage fans and to encourage new artist interaction in some fairly prominent ways: like ‘canvas’ videos which can be shared online, it’s snapchat-like Clips feature, and a songwriter hub site called Notable.
The latter, which was developed to showcase songwriters by pulling information and songs together in one place, is now building on this by launching Noteable Releases, the first of Spotify’s flagship weekly playlists that specifically showcases the work of songwriters and producers. It’s so that fans can discover music from a songwriting angle, and the playlist has accompanying Spotify Clips where songwriters discuss their process, including Finneas O’Connell.
The O’Connell family segues us nicely to the next of Spotify’s explorations into expanding the feature set of their platform: as part of the launch of Billie Eilish (O’Connell)’s new album, it has created the first in-platform “artist hub”, with exclusive content created by Eilish.
At the centre are three playlists designed to be an enhanced album experience in three different formats: “Fan Mode,” “Billie Mode,” and “Lyric Mode” which uses Canvas, Storylines, and Playlist Clips in some interesting ways – Lyric Mode, for instance, features audio of Eilish talking about each lyric. “Billie mode” feature exclusive videos and “Fan mode” has a soundscape of audio sent to her from fans.
While both of these efforts are still fairly broadcast-only (fans can’t communicate or share anything in-app), they are steps towards the kind of enhanced functionality where artists, songwriters and playlists become points for fans to gather. Maybe the learnings from live audio platform Greenroom will be instructive, as Spotify starts to allow users to create content and group together.
Greenroom is not built into the main Spotify app (yet…), but fan groups are beginning to cluster there, and making a single destination for fans to consume, geek out, and shout about their fandom may start to become an obvious next step.