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  • Writer's pictureJoshua Coase

February Music Industry News For Indies

Spotify is testing out several new features in its commitment to helping artists maximize their exposure on the platform but not all these changes are positive ones. Here’s the lowdown on the most important industry news stories from the past month that you should be aware of.

Spotify Has Removed The Listeners Count From Its ‘Discovered On’ Section For Playlists

The Story

In the latest update to its desktop app, Spotify has removed the listeners count from the ‘Discovered On’ playlists section on an artist’s profile. Users can still view the top five playlists that artist features on but won’t be able to see how many users have listened to their track due to this particular playlist placement. This update is not reflected in Spotify For Artists - artists can still see how many users listened to their track on any given playlist.

Why This Matters

On the face of it this change appears to be small, especially considering that it was always a desktop exclusive feature, however, this update will have a significant impact on third-party playlists. While this change is likely to discourage independent playlist marketing and trading, on the flip side, there is now less impetus for playlists to be transparent. As many of you will know from experience a lot of independent-curated playlists boast big follower counts that don’t always transfer into many streams due to fake accounts and payola. This ‘Discovered On’ metric was one way to help identify if a playlist is legitimate. What is arguably more disappointing is the fact that this information was one of the few valuable marketing techniques available to independent artists for free. It is unclear what prompted this decision from Spotify but it has certainly come as a great disappointment to many.

SoundCloud Now Allows Artists To Upload Tracks Via Their iPhone

The Story

For the first time, artists can now upload tracks straight from their iPhone onto SoundCloud via their app. This news follows the platform’s announcement last month allowing iOS users to change their album artwork, track title, description, genre, and privacy settings with the tap of a button. These updates form part of the platform’s new ‘mobile toolkit’. According to SoundCloud these features will also be arriving on Android soon.

Why This Matters

In last month’s newsletter when reporting on SoundCloud finally enabling track editing on the iOS app I pointed out that this means very little given that you can’t upload tracks straight from your phone. Finally, that is no longer the case. I t’s better late than never from both SoundCloud’s and artists’ perspective as this will no doubt prove to be a valuable asset for dropping tracks on the move and sharing demos straight from the studio with fans instantly. You can read a step-by-step guide on how to upload your tracks on the iOS app here.

Spotify Expands Its Liner Notes With New Feature: ‘Songwriter Pages’

The Story

In an attempt to bring more recognition to songwriters Spotify is expanding on its Liner Notes feature with new dedicated ‘Songwriter Pages’. Acting in a similar, albeit a more streamlined version of an artist’s profile page, these pages will include a list of tracks they’ve written, their most frequent collaborators, a link to a website or their social media accounts and a “Written By” playlist of the creator’s songs. Users can access this information by clicking on a songwriter’s name in the song credits. The feature is currently in beta but is expected to roll-out fully over the coming months. You can sign-up and request a Songwriter Page here.

Why This Matters

Songwriters can often be overlooked due to the design and interfaces on streaming platforms so it’s nice to see Spotify taking some action to highlight their work, however, there is more work to be done. While dedicated profile pages and special playlists are nice features the biggest problem is getting users to navigate their way there. The current process to do that works like this: 1) Right-click on a track (or, if you’re on mobile, tap the “…” next to the track) 2) Hit “Song Credits” 3) Select a clickable songwriter’s name It seems pretty simple on the face of it but in reality, most users will not proactively seek out this information or go through this process. This is largely due to the music streaming habits of many who often listen to music with their phone locked or while browsing on another app. While this is a nice idea and I encourage Spotify to explore and improve it further this isn’t going to realize their vision of creating “a new way for fans, collaborators and industry partners to dive deeper into the creators behind their favorite songs.”



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