June 3

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A Look At Spotify’s New ‘In Focus’ Feature For Artists

Musicians, Spotify, Stats

Spotify's new In Focus feature is here. Let's talk about what it is, why it exists, if it's useful — and for whom. 

What Is Spotify In Focus?

Spotify In Focus isn't quite its own website, nor is it an app. But it functions a little like both. Accessible either through your Spotify for Artist's home page or by going to the actual domain name, In Focus is an artist-centric guided experience meant to help you with different steps in your career. 

For starters, the site is notably beautiful. From an aesthetic and design perspective, In Focus is probably the most pleasing Spotify experience to use, and that includes their lauded yearly streaming recaps.

Spotify breaks In Focus down into five steps, organized in a linear fashion to more or less replicate the typical artist interest path. The steps are Create, Promote, Connect, Earn, and Learn.

They are, for the most part, pretty self-explanatory. Create is about finding inspiration and using tools to capture ideas. Promote is about organic and paid marketing efforts. Connect is about better understanding and engaging your fans. Earn is about monetizing those fans via things like merch and tickets. And Learn is a larger section about other topics artists may care about, from what to look for in a manager to other platforms like Twitch and Discord. Lastly, there's a spot to send feedback and topic suggestions to Spotify. 

The whole experience kind of feels like an interactive, guided museum display where you move along a path and hopefully retain some knowledge but also kind of get distracted by the pretty lights and pictures.

It's also important to note that a decent chunk of In Focus is repurposed information that already existed somewhere else on Spotify. It's just delivered in a much prettier package.

Why Did Spotify Create In Focus?

This is a bit of a two-pronged answer. The simple answer — and the one Spotify gives in its own material about the site — is that artists need this information. "We built In Focus to address the biggest questions and most important goals we've been hearing from artists engaging with us on social media, through our help center, and in 1-on-1 conversations," Spotify says. "From these thousands of points of feedback from artists, we organized the site into the 21 biggest focus areas on artists’ minds in the music industry today."


Without a doubt, there are far more questions than clear answers when it comes to artists — especially independent artists — trying to build something sustainable from their art. And Spotify has always positioned itself as a company that cares about the people who populate its platform with content. 

That's pretty clear from the amount of time they put into presentations and experiences directly addressing artists, managers, and labels. And if you ever meet somebody who works at Spotify, you know that passion for music is pretty much a prerequisite.

But the other (more cynical and equally true) answer is Spotify is in the business of Spotify. And the entire In Focus experience is meant to promote Spotify and its offerings to artists. 

So Here's The Rub

Each of the 21 different focus segments are geared towards focusing on a Spotify feature, not necessarily a piece of information that is universally helpful to growing an artist's career. For instance, when it comes to creating, Spotify promotes things like podcasts it owns, note taking tools it owns, studio spaces it owns, etc. When it comes to marketing, you can bet the only paid promotion tactics In Focus talks about are the ones that put money back in Spotify's pockets — things like Marquee campaigns, Discovery Mode, and Spotify Ad Studio.

Basically, the entire thing is all about Spotify. Growth on Spotify. Growth for Spotify. 

On the one hand, it makes sense. Spotify is a two-sided marketplace, meaning they aim to monetize both the product and the producers of the product. Spotify may not want to spend too much time talking about the fact that there are a lot of very successful artists who don't really stream well on Spotify because they've found their success elsewhere.

And a lot of artists (and people within the industry) see growth on Spotify as essential to growth everywhere — even if that's not always true, or at least not always where you should be looking first. So why would In Focus, well, focus on anything except Spotify?

But on the other hand, it also perpetuates this narrative that Spotify very much benefits from. That one we just talked about — that a strong presence on Spotify should be top of mind for any artist. Even brief mentions of platforms like Twitch and Discord are made through the lens of "how to use these to get more people on your Spotify page." 

And if you haven't been around long enough to spot the self-serving trend, a platform like In Focus could only exacerbate your own anxiety around growing on Spotify, even if it's ultimately to the detriment of your career and well-being. 

So Who Is Spotify's In Focus Good For?

It's easy to lose yourself in your own bubble. We talk about the music industry and content creation non-stop. And if you're reading this article, you're the type of person who probably likes to dive in to it, too.

So a lot of the information in In Focus can kind of feel like a "Yeah no duh" situation. But so, so many artists still don't know this basic information. Even if it's entirely focused on Spotify and what Spotify can offer, there's a lot of really valuable stuff shared within In Focus.

Even if you know it, there's value in hearing it again. Or hearing it said a different way. 

But it's important to remember that (to repeat ourselves) Spotify is in the business of Spotify. In Focus is best digested knowing full well that you're getting an advertising pitch. That doesn't mean the product isn't useful. It just means that it's the tip of the iceberg when it comes to understanding the music industry and what role Spotify plays in it. 

Ultimately, it's a good thing Spotify is putting the amount of time and effort into these resources as they are. Because educating and familiarizing yourself with these concepts is critical to being the CEO of your own content career. But just remember — you're not getting objective information here. In Focus should be utilized as just one of many, many resources on how to grow your career. 






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