For the first in our new series of interviews on Spotify Artists, we sat down with Athena Koumis, editor of Fresh Finds, a series of playlists championing emerging artists that updates every Wednesday.
Q: What is Fresh Finds?
__Koumis: __Fresh Finds is Spotify's emerging music playlist series dedicated to featuring up-and-coming artists. It's intended to help listeners discover music from really talented artists and musicians that they might have not have otherwise come across. Many of the artists featured in Fresh Finds are totally independent, may have a manager but not a label, or are on a small indie label.
Q: How did the idea begin to create Fresh Finds?
__Koumis: __Fresh Finds started with a dream to have a dedicated platform for emerging artists on Spotify. Initially it was just a passion project of a few like-minded employees obsessed with discovering new music by up-and-coming artists. We're the kind of people that get excited about finding awesome music by artists we've never heard before or that are just beginning their career.
We came up with the idea of sourcing music for Fresh Finds by identifying anonymous distinctive listening habits amongst Spotify tastemaker listeners who are often ahead of the curve in music discovery and listening to new music that later gets popular. Tapping in to the ears of Spotify listeners allows us to surface music very early on, as early as when an artist has less than 100 monthly listeners.
Q: Do the Fresh Finds tastemakers change?
__Koumis: __Spotify listeners are automatically identified as anonymous tastemakers based on recent listening history, so the overall group of tastemakers constantly changes. Listeners cannot submit or apply to be a tastemaker.
Q: What human curation is involved in Fresh Finds?
Koumis: Every week, music that is distinctively popular with anonymous Spotify tastemaker listeners is reviewed against a set of principles and guidelines to ensure that Fresh Finds features emerging artists. After this evaluation, editorial oversight is exercised and the Fresh Finds playlists are prepared and updated every Wednesday.
__Q: How has Fresh Finds evolved? __
__Koumis: __Initially we launched with just the flagship Fresh Finds playlist, which features music across many genres. We later expanded Fresh Finds to have genre-based feeder playlists that funnel in to the flagship playlist after hearing initial feedback from Spotify users. Currently there are five feeder playlists which can be found in the Fresh Finds section of Browse.
- Six Strings (Indie/Rock)
- Hiptronix (Pop)
- Basement (Electronic/Dance)
- Fire Emoji (Hip-Hop/R&B)
- Cyclone (Experimental)
The standout tracks of each feeder are featured in the Fresh Finds flagship playlist featured in browse every Wednesday.
Q: How does Fresh Finds work within Spotify's larger playlist ecosystem?
__Koumis: __Our Shows & Editorial team does a great job of crafting playlists for every genre, mood and moment, and we feel Fresh Finds is an important piece of the Spotify ecosystem that serves as a launching pad for emerging artists. Our editorial team monitors what music performs well in Fresh Finds and playlists it in additional Spotify properties, further expanding the audiences of emerging artists on Spotify. We do this because we strongly believe in supporting artists at Spotify regardless of where they are in their career.
Athena Koumis is an Editor at Spotify specializing in emerging music. She leads product and curation for the Fresh Finds playlist series.