Streaming & Listening Diversity - Spotify Case Study
Will artists have an easier time finding an audience, or will streaming focus global attention on a small number of stars?
While attending a panel called "Subversion and Innovation：The next Decade of the Music Industry on Intelligent Age" at the 4th Music Industry Forum at Beijing's Communication University of China (I gave a presentation on the "Artist Management and Tour Promotion from the Global Perspective" panel), I asked the speakers whether AI might actually create roadblocks to the direct-to-fan opportunities digital technologies had empowered creators with. In my view, any intermediary such as AI placing itself between the artist and the fan (such as though music recommendations) could hamper music discovery, skewing listeners to a small number of stars.
Spotify took a look deep dive into its data of listener habits to provide an answer. According to the streaming service, there is an explosion in listening diversity, defined here as the number of artists each listener streams per week.
Since 2014, the average number of artists each listener streams per week has increased 37 percent, from just under 30 to about 41 artists per week so far in 2017. And the biggest increase happened in the past year. Meanwhile, average weekly listening hours per user grew by 25% during the same period.
According to Spotify, its programmed (editorial as well as algorithmic) playlists and radio features are largely driving this growth in artist diversity. People are hearing more artists thanks in large part to Discover Weekly, Fresh Finds, Daily Mix, Summer Rewind and Time Capsule. In addition, listening diversity has been driven by top tier playlists such as RapCaviar, Today's Top Hits and Baila Reggaeton having become integral to the success of artists in a variety of genres. Meanwhile, Release Radar and New Music Friday (in addition to Fresh Finds) function as effective launchpads for new music.
As I had mentioned above, I had given a talk at the 4th Music Industry Forum called "Artist Development: China vs. The World" as part of the "Artist Management and Tour Promotion from the Global Perspective" panel. You can download my presentation slides HERE. Held on Nov. 3rd, the forum was being held under the guidance of the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television of the People's Republic of China, hosted by the Communication University of China, jointly presented by the Music Industry Promotion Committee, the School of Music and Recording Arts, Faculty of Art in collaboration with the China Music Industry Base and the Chinese Association of Music Communication.