A screen grab of Spotify's artist app. (Spotify )
It’s not that the creative team at Spotify doesn’t trust its listeners -- more than 3 million are paid subscribers -- they just want to make it easier for users to discover the more than 16 million tracks on the popular online music streaming site.
So, Spotify is slowly unveiling a series of artist-curated apps to ramp up the service’s ability for music discovery.
“People said although they loved having the data, they wished we’d given them some ways to get started with it,” said Chester French frontman D.A. Wallach, who serves as Spotify’s artist-in-residence. “Rather than becoming an editorial platform and telling you what you should or shouldn’t listen to, we decided to turn Spotify into a platform itself and allow creative people to build interesting music-based experiences.”
Spotify debuted the first of these Wednesday, with curated apps from Quincy Jones, Tiësto, Rancid and Disturbed, in the the hopes that music fans will dig deeper and discover new music, while having their favorite artist serve as a tour guide.
To celebrate the launch of the apps, Spotify held an intimate reception at West Hollywood’s swanky Andaz Hotel, where Jones brought the app to life with Bruno Mars leading the discussion. Mars spoke with the iconic producer about his decades-in-the-making catalog, though most of the conversation lingered on the subject of piracy, the way record sales used to be (“people bought music before they bought clothes and shoes”) and the importance of musicianship (“P. Diddy wouldn’t know a B-flat if it hit him”).
Jones’ app focuses on the stories behind his music. It includes audio commentary by the producer along with playlists of his personal heroes and mentors, the art of hit-making and how music is used in movies.
“With such a deep catalog at our fingertips, we’ve looked to partner with artists who have specific competencies in genres that might be neglected by most of our users,” Wallach said before introducing Jones and Mars. “You have to realize with 16 million songs, most people are just scratching the surface of what we have.”
Other apps include Tiësto’s Club Life, where the DJ picks a single of the week, album of the month, festival of the month, and a chart of the hottest dance music; Rancid handpicking selections from the world of punk; and Disturbed issuing playlists from each of its band members.
“It enables the artists to really have an ability to have an effect on their consumer base -- their fans,” said Disturbed frontman David Draiman. “They are able to market their own products and the products they really believe in.
“I have all the respect in the world for terrestrial radio, for satellite radio, for radio in general. However, the wonderful opportunity that this affords us as artists is to be able to market not only our own material but to champion the bands we love. The baby bands, and the real bands looking to make a real start that they couldn’t achieve before the digital age.”
Spotify said a number of other artists and music experts will launch apps in the coming weeks and months, including Steve Aoki.