by Karen Goodner, Girlilla Marketing
The streamers are here to stay, but the playlist is taking over their space. Only if you’re an artist of such caliber as Garth Brooks can you expect people to consume your album as a complete package (and that’s questionable for even Mr. Brooks at this point). But the best answer might not be getting your music out on every streaming site either. The latest and greatest in music discovery is the playlist and it’s becoming bigger than the mix tape ever was.
It’s not shocking. People prefer their music to be chosen by a person, rather than an algorithm. Would you rather listen to a playlist hand-selected by Jay-Z on Beats or listen to what Pandora has picked to be “like Jay-Z” on his channel? The trend seems to be moving to curated playlists and playlist services, rather than the radio-like stream.
Google has taken note, as it acquired Songza Media in July. It had some people asking why the Internet giant wanted to purchase another music platform when it already owned several.
Streamers like Pandora, focus on an artist, song or music format to create the listening experience, while Songza’s playlists are picked based on mood, activity, time of day and more. Its playlists are edited by an in-house staff of music experts, bringing the human element to the platform. Not to mention, Songza has 4.7 million active users, so we can see why Google felt it was a good way to get them into the playlist game. Now Playlists.net looks to be the next technology to be bought for the big bucks, with reports saying it’s had several suitors looking to acquire their playlist library.
Artists Take Note
Artists should take note and start thinking of their Spotify or RDIO profile as a place to engage fans, rather than just add their latest single. Making your own playlists isn’t the only way in with the playlist generation though. Playlist makers are becoming the new music promoters, just ask Lorde. “Royals” inclusion on Sean Parker’s Spotify playlist Hipster International can definitely be argued to be where she was discovered. The playlist now has close to 800K followers, so you can bet Sean is getting as many requests for meetings as a Rolling Stone writer.
Brands are in too. Viacom, (think VH1 & MTV), has announced it will partner with Spotify to create and maintain more than 100 playlists on the service. [Insert joke here about that being way more music than is currently on their television shows.] Bravo, Pepsi, Febreeze, Samsung and Taco Bell are just a few more examples of big brands who have partnered with streamers to create their own playlists, hoping to drive consumers to play and buy.
I believe we’ll see the playlist craze continue to grow, but I hope we don’t lose sight of its driving force–everyone’s love of sharing music they personally love. We all want to listen to music that others are passionate about, hear something new or reminisce. Playlists create feelings for listeners, but they’re as easy to unfollow as throwing your break up mix tape out the window. If they are great though, it’s a lot easier to send an email notification that new songs have been added than to burn a whole new CD for each one of your friends. The bonus? Royalties. But that’s a whole other blog and I have to update my playlists now.
Karen Goodner is Account Manager for Girlilla Marketing, a strategic digital marketing agency in Nashville.
Karen is responsible for facilitating digital strategies throughout the music and brand space at Girlilla.