Inside Spotify’s First-Ever “ Fan Study ”

Duboff says the project has been in development since January. It started out as a way to answer the many questions Spotify receives from the over one million artists, labels, and managers who use Spotify for Artists every month. “They often ask what trends Spotify is seeing across the industry, in order to better inform their strategies and approaches, and we found that there was a lot of consistency in the topics that artists and labels wanted to know, ”says Duboff.

After collecting “millions” of data points, the team narrowed the results down to those that felt most actionable, “so that we didn’t just share empty information,” Duboff adds, “but new trends on which you can change your strategy. “

Among the results, Spotify broke down the overlap between fans of different genres, noting that, for example, 66% of metal fans are also pop fans. (Spotify recommendation? Tag your new tracks with multiple genres, if applicable.)

Spotify has also found that fans are accessing the streaming service from a variety of emerging platforms. For example, the Discord chat app sent over 800,000 listeners to Spotify in a recent month, and between May 2020 and April 2021, inbound traffic from Discord to Spotify increased by 54%. Inbound traffic to the Runkeeper Pro exercise tracker over the same period increased 167%, which Duboff says is in part due to the artist partnering with the platform on playlists and music. other promotional content.

“We were trying to inspire artists to think about the types of communities that you might not think of as music communities, but that music can actually permeate,” Duboff says. “I hope this will inspire artists to show their other interests and hobbies to their fans.”

The results also support some common industry beliefs, such as that superfans make up the vast majority of activity around an artist. Spotify has found that, on average, across all genres, an artist’s top 5% of fans listen to six times more than others. There are also useful results for publishing strategies, like 53% of new releases reach peak audiences more than a week after release – meaning artists should keep promoting all week. – and that catalog feeds get a 15-20% increase on the day of the new release.

Finally, Spotify also released data on merchandise purchased through its partnership with online marketplace Merchbar. The main finding is that product preferences vary by genre, and on the Fan Study site, artists can look at the percentage of fans of each genre who are likely to buy vinyls, shirts, CDs, and more. Moreover. Artists can also use Fan Study to see which major cities are buying the most of a specific type of merchandise and tailor the inventory they bring on the road accordingly. (Another fun find? Vinyl is now a “game for young people,” the site reads, as no one sells vinyl more than the artists who released music from the 2000s onwards.)

“The artists are already planning their first post-COVID tours, which is amazing,” Duboff says. “We know that some of the merchant tour data sets they use are maybe a year old now. So we’ve tried to provide [data] help.”

At least some of the fan study’s findings are things savvy artists and their teams probably already know, which makes the site seem most useful to the DIY and emerging artist community. Fan Study also uses its Suggested Actions primarily to promote Spotify products, including free tools like Canvas, which allows artists to create short video loops in album form and unique art, as well as those that require payment, like Marquee, the sponsored referral tool available to reviewers. argued that it worked too well between advertising and fee-for-service. The launch of the fan study follows Loud & Clear, the Spotify website launched in March to explain how the streaming service pays rights holders.

Duboff says Fan Study will become a regular franchise, with more data to come – including, potentially, playlist best practices. His team will find additional artist questions on social media, which will help form the basis for the next study.

“We are creating tools and resources for the artist community because we want them to have a say and a voice. Instead of downloading a track in a sea of ​​noise and hoping a playlist editor or music industry executive notices them, these tools empower artists throughout their careers, ”Duboff says. “This is part of our larger effort to try to democratize the music industry by giving artists and their teams that control.”

Browse the full study here.

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