It’s five years since Spotify launched its personalised ‘Release Radar’ playlist, serving up new releases to listeners from their liked/followed artists every Friday. To celebrate the anniversary, Spotify announced a new milestone – more than 16bn ‘Release Radar’ streams – and opened it up to sponsors on the service’s free tier.
Disney+ is already on board as a US launch partner, with ‘Release Radar’ promoting its new Billie Eilish concert film. Premium subscribers won’t see the sponsorship, as is the case on the two other personalised playlists that can be sponsored: ‘Discover Weekly’ and ‘On Repeat’.
Spotify’s pitch is that a new releases playlist is “the ideal setting for advertisers to introduce new products, services, and IP“. We’ll be interested to see how much the streaming service is able to charge for this opportunity, having signalled its intent to make ads a bigger part of its revenues than their current level – 11.8% in Q2 this year.
It’s not all good news in Spotify’s playlists world. TechCrunch has picked up on a wave of dissent from third-party playlist curators about an issue called ‘playlist abuse’. What’s that? Spotify users can report playlists to the company for containing ‘sexual, violent, dangerous, deceptive or hateful content’. The problem with that? Well, it’s hard to believe, but…
“When a report is submitted, the playlist in question will have its metadata immediately removed, including its title, description and custom image. There is no internal review process that verifies the report is legitimate before the metadata is removed,” claimed the article, adding that some curators have abused this feature by reporting rivals.
“As a matter of practice, we will continue to disable accounts that we suspect are abusing our reporting tool. We are also actively working to enhance our processes to handle any suspected abusive reports,” was Spotify’s official response. Another example (see also: podcasts) of the moderation challenges faced by big streaming services in 2021.
Talking of podcasting, that’s one of the two more Spotify stories bubbling today. The company has launched its latest ‘Sound Up’ training program for podcasters, in this case focusing on LatinX creators in the US. Elsewhere, the company has been talking about the “exclusive and immersive fan experience” it created with artist Kacey Musgrave in Nashville – its latest physical marketing partnership.