All the ways we empowered, inspired, and celebrated artists over the past 12 months.
What was new in '22 at Spotify for Artists? Well... a lot. Starting a new chapter after two-plus years of the music industry dealing with the pandemic meant rethinking how we support artists. So we launched new initiatives, fresh tools, and found refreshing ways to connect with each other – all while celebrating your big successes along the way. ICYMI, here's how it all went down.
Earlier this year we released a new Masterclass episode, highlighting all the ways to make money on Spotify. Head of Spotify for Artists Camille Hearst shared our renewed focus on artist monetization and building new revenue streams for artists beyond royalties. A number of launches supporting that focus followed.
With live events finally making their way back to pre-pandemic levels, we dove head first into promoting performances with the refreshed Live Events Feed – a personalized stream of live event recommendations for Spotify listeners based on their listening behavior and location. The in-app destination helped fans discover local shows with the help of our ticketing partners.
We're also excited to help artists connect with their biggest fans virtually on Spotify, exploring live audio using our app Spotify Live. One new experience, which we're currently testing, is exclusive live audio rooms hosted by artists with their top Spotify fans. In these intimate spaces, artists can celebrate a special musical moment like a new release and earn revenue by selling merch, promoting concert tickets, and receiving tips and donations through Fan Support – all inside the room.
Speaking of Fan Support, we rebranded and expanded the tool (previously known as Artist Fundraising Pick) and mobilized it to rally support at key moments like the outbreak of war in Ukraine and, most recently, Giving Tuesday.
With artists connecting with fans, dropping new music, and heading back on stage, merch became more important than ever. So we partnered with MerchFriends for the debut of Band Shirt Day, kicking off an annual celebration dedicated to selling merch and raising funds for a cause via Fan Support. To make selling even easier, we carved out a spot on Spotify release pages specially designed to showcase merch and helped launch a budget-friendly Shopify Starter Plan, offering artists everything they need to sell merch on Spotify for just $5/month. Everything you need to know about building a merch business on Spotify can now be found on our new merch hub.
We followed singer/songwriter mehro on his merch journey of taking a one-of-a-kind design and transforming it into a Spotify-exclusive fan keepsake. "When you go to a show and buy merch, you're buying a memory," the alt-pop artist says. And, with that memory, a tangible piece to strengthen the artist-to-fan bond.
The proof is in the promo
Marquee's greatest superpower is making noise when – and where – it matters most. We expanded the tool's targeting outside of the U.S. to a total of 37 markets, giving artists and label teams a chance to promote eligible new releases to listeners directly from Spotify for Artists. And, we gave artist and label teams in Latin America the opportunity to purchase Marquees through our sales teams. We also lowered the number of streams an artist needs to be eligible as well as the minimum budget for campaigns via the Spotify for Artists buying experience. As the year comes to a close, a new in-depth study underlined Marquee's effectiveness. It showed that when it comes to promoting music, our in-app recommendation tool delivers an average of 10x more Spotify listeners for every dollar spent on similar social ads.
Marquee also turned out to be a great complement to Discovery Mode, which is still in a closed testing stage. After doing a case study of Miami-based Magic City Hippies' sophomore release, Water Your Garden, we saw how Discovery Mode worked with Marquee and Canvas to multiply awareness. In fact, the band's use of Spotify for Artists marketing tools made listeners four times more likely to stream pre-release singles and helped triple the band's audience in Radio and Autoplay before the album dropped.
This year, we also launched Made to be Found, a new website guide for artists to explore how fans find – and fall in love with – music on Spotify. The site details how music goes from distribution and playlist pitching, to three key pathways to reaching listeners: editorial curation by Spotify, personalized algorithmic recommendations, and fan-led streaming, like adding songs to personal playlists.
Let's hear it for the fans
Face it: fans don't just make music fun, they're fundamental to every artist's career. So forging new ways for artists to connect with both loyal followers and new listeners was at the top of our list. We launched two new editions of Fan Study – now available in seven languages! – exploring new data around the importance of artists' catalogs, and how music moves around the world. As part of the former, we partnered with Netflix to analyze how tracks featured on-screen impacts listener interaction (we found increases in first-time listeners from 50% to 6000%, plus an average 109% rise in streams of the rest of the artists' catalog). In our Global Edition, we analyzed how artists all over the planet continue to break down barriers, cross borders, and reach more fans than ever before. We learned that 66% of new artist discoveries happen outside an artist's home country. And once new listeners find you, they engage like crazy.
We ended the year with a special artist-to-fan video opportunity in our Wrapped experience: Top listeners had the chance to view 30-second shout-outs straight from their favorite artists, hearing how their support impacted those musicians' journey in 2022.
A student for life
Sometimes the best teacher is someone who knows exactly where you're coming from, and what challenges you might be facing making music – and making a career of it – because they've been there and done that. With our Best Advice podcast, we tapped music stars like Big Freedia, BANKS, Troye Sivan, and Prince Royce to share the useful, often surprising, always inspiring wisdom they've gained from their mentors and from their own experiences for rising artists navigating the industry.
Meanwhile, our monthly interview series #SongwriterSaturday continues to lift the lid on what it really takes to be a songwriter, with insights and anecdotes from everyone from the best in the biz – from Nova Wav to Dan Wilson to Justin Tranter to MNEK. Our ongoing How They Made It video series helped artists to see their fellow musicians in a new light. On the business side, major players from every corner of the industry gave their top tips through our Co.Lab Sessions podcast and events, while our Noteable Studios reopened the doors for free recording time in four – soon to be five – cities in North America and Europe.
With so many paths to take in your career, sometimes the hard part is just knowing where to start. That's why we launched In Focus, which acts like a virtual artist manager, providing guidance to help you nail each of your career goals. With five career categories (Create, Promote, Connect, Earn, and Learn), and 21 focus areas, you have the ability to hone in on a specific goal and uncover the key tools, resources, and recommendations you need to achieve it.
Of course, the learning and growth doesn't stop here. See you in 2023!