How Terrace Martin Expanded His Reach in Preparation for a New Release

an image of musician Terrace Martin against a Magent background
Timothy "timmhotep" Cornwall / March 11, 2021

The prolific L.A. musician and his team are using Discovery Mode to raise his profile and gain new fans in the build-up to a new single.

If you know, you know. That is to say, if you’re a fan of the cross-pollinating genres of hip-hop, R&B, and jazz, then it’s likely you’re a fan of Terrace Martin’s music and his myriad collaborations with other artists. But even if you don’t instantly recognize his name, you definitely know his sound.

A Los Angeles native, Martin is a thrice Grammy-nominated producer, composer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist who has lent his talents to some of those genres’ biggest and brightest stars including, but not limited to, Kendrick Lamar, Kamasi Washington, Ty Dolla $ign, YG, Robert Glasper, Snoop Dogg, and Leon Bridges. As an artist in his own right, Martin has consistently released critically-acclaimed and genre-blurring solo and collaborative projects through his Sounds of Crenshaw label. Dinner Party, the self-titled EP from his supergroup with friends Washington, Glasper, and producer 9th Wonder, has yielded his most streamed song to date, “Freeze Tag (feat. Phoelix),” a soulful meditation on racial profiling and social injustice. “I’m trying to reach the music fan that understands the world needs more love and compassion, Martin explains. “Music is a tool to bring that into reality.”

The word “prolific” is often used to describe high-output artists but few of his contemporaries live up to the adjective quite like Martin does. In 2020 alone he released an EP or a live or studio album for almost every month in the calendar year including Terrace Martin’s Gray Area Live at the JammJam (Jan.), Sinthesize (Feb.), Soul Juice (March), Conscious Conversations (April); Impedance (May); his collaborative EP with Chicago rapper Ric Wilson, They Call Me Disco (May); Dinner Party’s self-titled project (July), Dinner Party: Dessert (Oct.), a reworking and revisitation of the supergroup’s earlier project; and finally, Village Days (Dec.).

Martin’s work ethic, coupled with his boundless creativity and versatility, makes for an artist whose catalog is not only deep but wide too. “When he’s creating he’s not really concerned with, ‘Does this fit within the trajectory of what my marketing team has envisioned for me?,’ so sometimes we end up with releases that are just an eight-song instrumental synth project,” says Spencer Smith, part of his management team at Crush Music. “For anybody else [another artist] who is strictly concerned with building their profile and the biggest career possible that [type of release] may not be ideal but for Terrace, it’s a natural part of his story.”

Terrace Martin in the studio

Terrace Martin in the studio

Highly productive and ubiquitous via his collabs and production work, the challenge for Martin and his team at Crush Music and EMPIRE, his distributor, was parlaying that ubiquity into name recognition while turning casual listeners into highly-engaged Terrace Martin fans. Martin’s sound had already been proven to resonate with listeners — the A-list artists he’s worked with and the successful projects he had contributed to were evidence of that — but to take him further, his team needed to expose his music to more listeners. Enter Discovery Mode, the Spotify for Artists tool (still in early testing) that helps artists amplify the reach of their music with listeners who have shown interest in similar music and genres.

In October of last year, Martin released a new single, “People Get Ready,” from Hollywood Records’ I Can't Breathe / Music for the Movement EP. Featuring Glasper and vocalist Alex Isley, the song is a timely remake of The Impressions’ 1965 civil rights anthem inspired by the mass movement for social justice in 2020. The track was the kind of socially conscious, genre-fusing music Martin is known for, so his team used its release as an opportunity to invite more listeners into his extensive catalog using Discovery Mode.

Strategically aligning the use of the tool with the Oct. 16 release of “People Get Ready,” Martin’s team opted some of the older songs in his catalog into Discovery Mode to test its efficacy. Since then, Martin and his team have seen a whopping 36.8% gain in reach (exposure to new listeners) on Spotify as a result of Discovery Mode serving up his tracks to listeners based on their taste, in Discovery Mode contexts. "Anything that gets the music in the ears of [almost] 40% more people is valuable,” says Smith. “Leading with the music and letting that do all the talking feels the most authentic and natural. Especially for an artist as original and diverse as Terrace, the music will always be our best marketing tool."

The influx of new listeners sets the stage for the release of Drones later this year, an upcoming album from Martin that Crush Music, CMO and Head of Digital Strategy, Daniel Kruchkow describes as his “masterpiece.” “We’re gonna lead into that [project] now that we have all this momentum, says Kruchkow. “With the Discovery Mode success, it has definitely helped with our goals of growing his presence on Spotify.” As he continues to crank high-quality music and use Discovery Mode to attract listeners Terrace Martin’s name will no doubt be as familiar as his sound.

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