Anitta, Spotify and the importance of superfan mobilisation


Warner Music Group is very proud of Anitta’s recent achievement in becoming the first Brazilian artist to top Spotify’s global top 50 chart. Her track ‘Envolver’ reached the summit of the chart with 3.6m daily streams, although that number increased in the following days.

It also made Anitta the first solo Latin artist to top Spotify’s global rankings, with WMG’s Simon Robson hailing the achievement as a sign that “the trend of hits coming from across the globe will accelerate as more people in emerging markets sign up to streaming services, and as we get better at introducing this global talent to the rest of the world”.

Now we have some more details on how this particular track was introduced to the rest of the world, courtesy of an article by news site Rest of World on the role that Anitta’s fans played in driving the track to number one.

That includes fan-mobilised activity to create playlists featuring ‘Envolver’, as well as listening via multiple Spotify accounts. Rest of World questioned whether encouragement from Anitta’s official fans account on Twitter for some of this activity risked flouting Spotify’s terms and conditions.

We’re not so sure. There’s a clear line between paid use of bots to artificially inflate a track’s streams – which is absolutely not what’s being suggested here – and the role of an army of superfans who are increasingly knowledgeable about how the charts and algorithms of streaming services work, as well as their rules.

It’s an interesting trend to think about though. We’ve moved from a music industry where guaranteeing chart success was usually about marketing spend (for example, with retailers).

That spend is still important in the streaming era – finding new ways to claim a chunk of it is a key part of Spotify’s business model – but it’s also about mobilising superfans. Or, indeed, about the superfans mobilising themselves, as any member of the BTS Army will tell you.

Rules will need to be drawn up (and regularly redrawn) by DSPs and chart bodies alike to govern what’s acceptable, particularly if labels or artist teams are offering incentives for fans to push a track up the charts. If these rankings are to be a measure of true popularity, rather than simply of superfan mobilisation, that’s important.

Even so, understanding the role those fans can play in taking artists from regional stardom to global success – particularly, as Robson noted, from countries and regions where the sheer scale of listeners can fuel this process – is going to be increasingly crucial in the evolving global streaming economy.

Written by: Stuart Dredge