Spotify has rolled out its latest fan-support feature: the ability to connect its service to Patreon. However, for now this is only for podcasters rather than musicians.
The partnership was announced in March this year, and means podcasters who are using Patreon can publish their subscriber-only episodes on Spotify using its Open Access API, to ensure they remain windowed to paying fans.
Spotify also announced this week that it is testing “a new feature that will help creators promote their subscription on Spotify by putting a banner at the top of their free show page that points users to their paid offerings”.
The rhetoric from Spotify around all this is about empowering creators. “We want to support as many business models as possible so creators have options for how they want to build their business, and that includes creators using third-party tools to generate revenue,” said product manager Ben Peskoe in an interview for Spotify’s announcement blog post.
That’s great for podcasters, so what about musicians? Spotify has its merch and ticketing integrations, which this year have been given more prominence within its app.
There’s also its ‘Fan Support’ feature (renamed from ‘Artist Fundraising Pick’ last year) that lets artists link to approved platforms including Cash App, GoFundMe and PayPal to take payments directly from fans.
The approved list doesn’t yet include Patreon. Or Kickstarter. Or Bandcamp. Meanwhile, Spotify rolled out a paid subscriptions feature for podcasts in 2021 – enabling shows to charge listeners within Spotify – and later began allowing those podcasters to download the email addresses of their subscribers for follow-on marketing purposes.
Two years on, there isn’t an equivalent feature for musicians to charge their own subscriptions within Spotify and get the addresses of their superfans, and that’s frustrating.
Adding layers of direct/fan funding on top of DSPs feels like it could be a key part of how music’s streaming economy evolves in the next decade. Spotify has the potential to be one of the drivers of that evolution.
We may just be impatient. There are big differences in the way the podcasting and music industries work, and navigating the complexity of rights and relationships in the latter to launch artist-level subscriptions would be no mean feat.
As we’ve written before, Spotify’s fan-funding efforts for podcasters will bring the company valuable lessons to apply if and when it expands them to musicians in the future.
For now, artists who want more ‘options for how they want to build their business’ in this vein on Spotify will have to wait and hope.
Or, of course, launch a podcast, in which case they will be able to connect their Patreons, or charge subscriptions within Spotify and get those superfans’ emails after all…