Spotify for Artists has launched a new report, which slices their data around the listening habits of the most committed fans.Spotify is specifically referring to them as “super listeners”, given that their data is drawn mostly from listening habits, and also because the DSP recently launched audience segmentation in the Spotify For Artists app – one segment of which is those highly-engaged listeners.
In some ways, the data confirms what marketers have long understood: that a small amount of the active audience contributes a lot more in terms of engagement – and income – to any given artist: “Averaged across all artist sizes, super listeners make up 2% of an artist’s monthly listeners, but account for over 18% of monthly streams,” the report says. It also confirms that superfans are stickier: they continue to listen to an artist’s music much longer after it is released: “two-thirds of super listeners will still be streaming your music after a six-month stretch.” (It’s worth noting that this means they listen to at least one song for at least 30 seconds per month for that period.) That same 2% of listeners will account for 52% of merchandise purchased via Spotify’s in-app Shopify integration.
One particularly useful learning, perhaps, is the data on the transition of the moderately interested fans into superfans. “After releasing new music, on average, artists saw their number of super listeners increase by over 20%,” Spotify says their data shows, and this is possibly a useful benchmark for marketers wondering how to stretch the impact of their new releases into increased fan-retention and fandom behaviour.
Associate director of brand marketing Rob Fink, who leads the Fan Study on behalf of Spotify for Artists, said that the company’s goal is to “arm artists and their teams with data, strategies, and tools to better understand, grow, and engage their audience.”
Part of the output of this fan study is also to encourage artists and teams to use Spotify’s various tools, paid or otherwise. Marquee is suggested as the solution to targeting the super-listener segment, and Spotify’s highly controversial Discovery Mode – where artists and labels can choose to promote certain tracks in its radio and autoplay features in return for a lower royalty rate – is suggested as a way to bring in new fans with the intention of turning them into “super-listeners”, for instance.
In the earnings call accompanying the release of this week’s Q2 financial results, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek talked up a number of ways that the DSP would be aiming to increase income, alongside the recent subscription price hike. He spoke about the impact of AI to help advertisers create better and more-specifically targeted ads, and also using AI to to both increase listener retention and create non-music spoken content. (Sceptics might add that using AI to create large volumes of spoken-word content would eat into the share of music playback time, further reducing the platform’s reliance on licensed music.)
The suite of paid tools showcased in this new report is evidence of Spotify’s intention that the artist tool section of its “two-sided marketplace” will become a more significant revenue-driver. But zooming back in from the bigger picture, this new data around super-listeners is useful for artist teams as they strive to more carefully segment their audience and figure out how to monetise the sections of their fanbase that are most amendable to putting their hands in their pockets.