Anyone who attended the Fireside Chat with Troy Carter hosted by Spotify at the Gathering Spot last week learned first hand just how much of an impact hip-hop is having on culture across the globe. More importantly, the fact that the staff members from the streaming service came to town for a week served as a reminder that Atlanta is in the center of the movement.
In one word: playlists.
Marketers, in general, know the importance of creating as many touches or exposures to the brand as possible in order to make a lasting impression on fans. If a corporation's goal is to get an email address, phone number or some other form of personal contact information to facilitate their marketing campaigns, the goal of a music artist should be to get added to a fan's playlist.
Thanks to the advent of Spotify and other streaming services, there is a generation of music lovers who now get in their car and immediately connect to Bluetooth or plug in their aux cord completely bypassing traditional radio. While it used to be popular to drive fans to download an album or purchase $.99 single, true fans - the ones who will buy tickets to shows or purchase merchandise - are now opting to give you a precious spot on their favorite playlist.
"Streaming services are the new outlet where you find music because now blogs are more like TMZ, to be honest. That's not where you go to hear music," Says Tunde Balogun, one of the promotional geniuses at LoveRenaissance and The OMO. Thanks to the power of the internet, social media, and platforms like Spotify, artists have more power than ever before.
"The best thing is when you get music directly to the people," Tunde continues. "With blogs, your career is kind of in somebody else's hands because it's up to their opinion. With Spotify, everybody gets to hear it and fans get to choose if they rock with it. That's the best part."
Kei Henderson, 21 Savage's manager, is also in agreement. "I haven't checked a blog for a new artist in maybe two years," She professes. "The blog business is kind of pointless unless you are doing an in depth interview that leaves the viewer is like, 'Wow! I would have never known that about the artist.' But as far as trying to premiere music and all that, don't waste your time."
This phenomenon didn't happen by chance. Spotify has been intentional about pouring resources into their platform to enhance the user's experience. Beginning back in March 2017, the streaming service began curating "enhanced playlists" starting with their Rap Caviar playlist which now has 7.2 million followers to date.
With the addition of enhanced playlists, Spotify has created an opportunity for listeners to find both audio and visual content from their favorite artists in one place. "We want you to eat, sleep and shit in our playlists. We don't want you to listen to Two Chainz album on Spotify then jump to YouTube to watch the video. Instead, we just threw the video on the playlist," says Brittany Lewis, video programming manager, hip-hop at Spotify.
Jonathan currently lives in Atlanta and curates music, art, and film events across the city in collaboration with the LxVE Collective. He also works with the Independent Insurance Agents of Georgia as their communications coordinator.