The music industry is changing, for everyone from labels, to consumers, to artists. The way consumers digest music these days tends heavily toward streaming, which makes up 51% of sales. The success of streaming has a lot to do with major players like Spotify and Apple Music. Analysts David Erlandsson and Jomar Perez from Spotify recently dived deep into internal statistics to find if streaming helps or hurts new artists. The results are compelling for the ‘helps’ argument.
According to Erlandsson and Perez, all trends are moving up. The number of unique artists streamed per week has increased 37% over the past four years. This should not be confused as meaning the average listener streams ~40 new artists per week, just an increase in the diversity. Logically the increase in diversity will lead to new artists being heard as well, as explained further below.
The way Spotify curates its playlists means users are “gently encouraged to discover” new artists while still getting a heavy dose of the ones they already know and love. The amount of time spent listening to music on the streaming platform has increased 25% since 2014, and correlates to an even higher increase in the number of unique artists heard per user.
The increase of listening hours per user could indicate a shift in consumer behaviour, as they move toward Spotify as their only platform. There are no more hours in a day than there were before, but if music streaming was previously split between two or three platforms (ie YouTube/Satellite Radio/Spotify), a realization that a unified platform offering a better service would draw users away from other services. The number of subscribers to Spotify is steadily increasing, which follows the global paradigm shift to streaming.
When examining why the growth in artist diversity is occurring, Erlandsson and Perez found that first and foremost it could not happen without the artists creating great music. The next variable is the work Spotify is doing on both editorial and algorithmic programmed playlists. Discover Weekly, Fresh Finds, Daily Mix, Summer Rewind, and Time Capsule are all Spotify-created playlists that are either the same for all, or individualized per user. This drives the accessibility of all artists, along with the editorialized playlists Today’s Top Hits, RapCaviar, and Baila Reggaeton. For new artists there are also the Release Radar and New Music Friday playlists.
Microsoft partnering with Spotify to combat Apple Music and a looming IPO estimated to value the streaming giant at $20 billion indicates nothing but success. Spotify is right at the forefront of the new technological era, and is proving to be beneficial for the entire supply chain from artist to consumer.