March 14

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Spotify Announces New Artist Features, Makes Big Bet On Video

Musicians, Spotify

Spotify recently held their annual "Stream On" event to tell artists and their teams about all the features they're working on for the platform. The streaming platform hyped this year's event as one of the biggest in terms of new platform features, and they certainly delivered in a few key areas. 

Let's take a look at a few of the big things announced at this year's Stream On event.

Spotify Goes All In On Video

After some curious (possibly accidental) teasing of a new "clips" page on the Spotify for Artists platform in the weeks leading up to Stream On, Spotify officially announced its new Clips feature. It is, in essence, a new short-form video component to the platform.

Some of you might remember the last time Spotify tried adding short-form video to things like playlists. That iteration of short-form was, well, short-lived (nailed it). But now Spotify says it is making clips available to all artists as a way to go deeper into songs and "drive streams, not memes." 

The feature undoubtedly comes from the popularity of platforms like TikTok and Instagram Reels, which have not only driven song streams but launched full-on careers. A major difference, however, is that Spotify wants clips to focus specifically on songs and releases. They're designed to live on your Spotify profile and "attach" to certain releases, opposed to social media platforms that encourage lots of uploads. 

Clips are, in essence, about quality over quantity. They can only be up to 30 seconds long and users currently need to join a waitlist to gain access to the feature. 

The clips feature goes hand-in-hand with Spotify's new "discovery focused" home feed, which will allow users to scroll through clips and pieces of canvas similar to a TikTok feed. The goal is to drive more native discovery within the platform.

Spotify Embraces "Pre-Saves" On New Countdown Page

One of the most ridiculous components of the streaming era is the notion of a "pre-save," an industry-originated metric that is terrible in just about every way when it comes to actively promoting music and providing a good fan experience. After eight years, Spotify is apparently officially embracing the notion of a "pre-save" in the platform, though it's mostly just taking a nod from Apple Music in this regard. 

The feature comes as part of the new "Countdown" pages Spotify announced, which essentially serve as a bridge between where music is promoted and where music is consumed. In other words, Spotify is creating a place for artists to hype upcoming releases on the platform itself, opposed to social media. 

These new pages feature things like a track list, countdown timer to release, merch pre-order, video clips, and yes — an option to "pre-save" the album. In this context, it basically just means the album will automatically be added to your library when it comes out, a feature Apple Music users have enjoyed for years. Spotify says more than 80 percent of people who pre-saved albums in early tests streamed the release in its first week.

It remains to be seen if things like official pre-saves drive any other factors (primarily editorial playlist support). Also, Spotify very clearly uses the term "album" for these countdown pages, which could just be them sticking with their platform vernacular, or it could be a hint that Countdown pages won't be available for just single songs. This feature is also slowly rolling out to more artists, so it remains to be seen. 

Also worth note, the notion of a "save" is itself changing. Spotify has removed historical save data in the Spotify for Artists platform (for no apparent reason), so now a user can only see saves as far back as 28 days. Also, a save on Spotify is slowly being combined to just adding the song to playlists or libraries, which may indicate in the future that the idea of a "save" will simply be a playlist add.

More Artists Getting Access To Discovery Mode

Lastly, Spotify announced that it's officially bringing Discovery Mode to independent artists using specific distributors. The list is pretty short, but it does include DistroKid (which Spotify owns a minority stake in). The full list is DistroKid, CD Baby, Vydia, Stem, and Venice Music.

There are some other caveats, too. For instance — Spotify says an independent artist must have at least 25,000 monthly listeners in order to use it. Also, you have to have at least three tracks that qualify. Which tracks qualify you ask? Great question! Your track qualifies if:

  • It has been on Spotify for at least 30 days
  • It has been streamed on Spotify's Radio or Autoplay in the last 7 days
  • You distributed it through one of the companies listed above

The rest of the details are fairly simple. When you enable a track for Discovery Mode, it boosts the likelihood that it will appear in a user's Radio or Autoplay algorithmic playlists.  But it doesn't guarantee it, and if enough users don't vibe with the song, the track won't keep getting served up. 

The price for a Discovery Mode campaign? Nothing up front, but Spotify reduces your payout on those particular streams, keeping 30 percent of what it otherwise would've paid you. Spotify says in its tests so far Discovery mode has led to an average 50 percent increase in saves, 44 percent increase in playlists, and 37 percent increase in follows during the first month of Discovery Mode.


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