Thursday, November 14, 2013

How Spotify Helps A Song Become A Hit

Slide from Spotify's Will Page's presentation at the Media Evolution event in Sweden.The other day Spotify director of economic development Will Page showed some data about how the service can be front and center in helping a song become a hit, using Lorde's "Royals" as an example.

The gist of the example is that playlists are one of the primary reasons that a song takes off on Spotify. When people add a song to a playlist they create, it's almost the same as word-of-mouth in that other people check out the song and potentially add it to their lists as well.

As with so many hits these days, that can help a song get a groundswell, but it takes a celebrity or someone with high visibility to add it to their playlist for the song to explode. In the case of "Royals" it was Spotify's Sean Parker who added it to his Hipster International list which pushed the song to hit status almost overnight.

The interesting thing here is that this is really no different from hit making on radio going back to the 50s. If a DJ started playing a song in a major or secondary city, the song would begin to break out as other DJs would add it to their playlists because it was suddenly got hot.

The fact of the matter is that it still requires some sort of a unexpected break for a song to become a hit, it's just that the break now may come online instead of over the air.

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