Where Were You: Spotify welcomes creators to Stream On 2023
with a mission to championing new models for creators and artists
with a mission to championing new models for creators and artists
Global streaming service, Spotify is adapting to the need of creators on its platform. This year, artists, songwriters, journalists, video and content creators, podcasters, and fans from all over the world joined Spotify for its second Stream On event which took place at its Los Angeles campus. As the NATIVE’s Managing Editor, I was privileged to be one of the few journalists from the continent in attendance, for the week-long festivities which unveiled Spotify’s plans for welcoming and providing for creators, podcasters and micro-influencers in its fold.
Stream On is a Spotify original event which pulls back the curtain on how Spotify is connecting creators with fans and empowering creators to live off of their art. Launched back in 2021 during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, Stream On was heralded as a key moment to show how Spotify is unlocking new possibilities for more types of creators than ever before, so that they can better connect with and build a global audience. This year’s affair was similarly touted as an essential event for a new generation of creators finding their community online, particularly those who could make use of the new tools and features being rolled out on the streaming and tech platform.
Kicking off with the welcome dinner and drinks at Holloway House in West Hollywood, Spotify welcomed creators, journalists, and editors of all ages to its week-long schedule of events. Each individual was assigned a Spotify buddy who was available and on-hand to assist and welcome them to LA. After a night of icebreakers, the following day was the main event–a 3-part series which included Stream On; a open note discussion on unlocking new possibilities for more creators than ever before, Play On; focused creator workshops and fireside chats with Spotify editors and execs, and Party On, a night of special performances and entertainment at the Roxy Theatre.
During Stream On, Spotify reinforced its mission to champion diversity and discovery, revealing a reimagined interface that leverages new visuals, and a completely new and interactive design — all to drive deeper and long-lasting connections between creator and listeners. “Stream On is about all the ways we are bringing Spotify to life and letting creators at all stages of their careers know that we are open for business. We are focused on building the best home for them – a place where they can establish a career, thrive and grow and where the world can be inspired by their creativity,” shared Spotify Founder & CEO Daniel Ek during the morning keynote presentation.
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During the presentation, Spotify also rolled out a number of tools and features that will aid performance for creators and artists on its platform–including an all new interactive homepage design. Within Africa and Nigeria specifically, Spotify also launched Smart Shuffle, a tool to enhance an existing playlist with just the tap of a button, a Preview feature for playlists and podcast episodes which allows users to sample before they play or save and Autoplay for podcasts which allows continuity and seamlessness during the listening experience. For creators in Africa, these new tools will place them directly in front of their audience who can make well-informed decisions about opting for a particular content.
Artists were not left out of the mix. Spotify showcased a suite of Spotify for Artists tools that help artists find the fans who’ll love their music most and enhance their line of revenue to help artists grow: merchandise and live events. For example, the platform launched new Concert and Merch Discovery tools which will help make sure concert-goers never miss another show in their city and a Fans First program to ensure top listeners receive emails and notifications that give them special access to concert pre-sales and merch exclusives.
Alongside this, Spotify announced the end of Anchor–its podcasting platform which will be replaced by Spotify For Podcasters–a dedicated platform that brings the best of Spotify’s podcast creator tools into a one-stop shop to create, manage, grow and monetise podcast content. “Today, there are more than ten million creators on Spotify with over half a billion listeners across 184 countries and markets,” Spotify Founder & CEO Daniel Ek noted. “Think about the massive potential that represents for creators. No matter where you are on your own creative journey within music, podcasts or audiobooks. The potential to reach half a billion people. And that reach is about to become more powerful with what we’ve introduced.”
Following this session, it was time to visit the Spotify West Hollywood campus in the Arts District for a day of interactive creator sessions and panel discussions from artists, creators and Spotify staffers including Central Cee, Rickey Thompson, Denzel Dion, Sulinna Ong and more, who unveiled more around the world of Spotify, its playlists and music discovery, podcasting and more. The music team fireside chat was led by Spotify global editors including Jeremy Erlich, Spotify’s Head of Global Music Content; Bruno Carlot, Global Head of International; and Sulinna Ong, Global Head of Editorial.
“The role of the editor is, as I said, is to listen to all the music. So we’re the closest point to the music and thinking about, you know, the artist, where it’s coming from, and how it might connect with an audience on the platform,” shared Ong about the editorial arm. “In each market, there are specialists in the local cultural scene, that’s really important, because no one’s going to know what’s happening on the ground better than an editor in that market, and to really be a champion for local domestic repertoire.”
In addition to listening to the music, Jeremy Erlich also talks candidly Spotify’s on the pulse editorial team that has broken many artists on the platform. For example, Ghana’s Black Sherif gained considerable traction on the platform after first being spotted by the local team in Ghana and boosted on global editorial playlists. “From there, we went to Ghana with Kendrick Lamar, and we introduced him to Black Sherif. So we’re first facilitating hip hop and culture, those co-signs are really important,” shares Jeremy.
The week-long event closed out with Party On–a night of musical festivities and networking held at the Roxy Theatre. Inviting guests in with warm hues of purple, the night included an all-female showcase from Gwen Stefani, Rita Ora, and more. The excitement from guests and colleagues in attendance was palpable, with many people buzzing about the new features unlocked on Spotify. Spotify’s Stream On 2023 was a resounding success thanks to its mission to champion creators and artists who have been instrumental in keeping us entertained, seen and represented.
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