The Spotify Update 2023 is in and the Swedish streaming giant releases a whole lot of new features. In its second ‘Stream On’ event, Spotify has announced major changes as well as some small & hidden ones.
I hear you, keeping up with all the changes in the music-streaming world is exhausting. It seems like just when you’ve mastered one platform, they go and roll out new updates.
This is wild, Spotify and the other streaming services don’t just have to manage the competition within themselves. However, there is also pressure from the likes of TikTok as well as Artificial Intelligence.
Streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple want to stay current in order to gain the most listeners. They are fighting an everlasting bit for relevancy, usability and technological innovation.
Hence the frequent updates. This is not to say that it is confusing for artists and music industry people alike.
Here’s the deal: when a platform like Spotify is releasing new updates, they are naturally keen for everyone to use them. That’s why they promote people who are early adopters and push their content to the forefront.
You can use this to your advantage and start implementing new updates into your digital strategy early on.
This blog post is here to help you enforce the newest changes so your career can thrive!
Spotify Update 2023- What’s new?
TikTik is arguably Spotify’s biggest rival. The short video platform is growing exponentially and there seems to be no stop sign in sight.
In short, TikTok is an app where users share short videos that are underlaid with music. The base idea of the app is lightweight entertainment with users following ‘stars’ or big influencers as well as smaller content creators.
The interactive factor is very big on TikTok and so-called challenges create a big buzz. Basically, one creator is starting a challenge, for example, to dance the same dance.
And then everyone chips in and releases content that is directly linked to this challenge. There is also a duet function, where musicians can record a duet with a follower.
The emphasis of TikTok is the ‘For You’ feed, where TikTok suggest content that could be relevant to you. Even if you don’t follow the accounts already.
Spotify wants to fight that and has announced that the new Spotify homepage will contain cards that include audio and video as well as text.
Canvas will loop into the feed which will show individual recommendations for music and playlists.
Spotify draws a big contrast to TikTok as its new feed is not designed to keep you busy and absorbing. According to MusicAlly, the aim is to serve the customer as quickly and sufficiently as possible. In short, to drive up discovery.
The format of the Canvas videos is already working well within Spotify. And now they want to use this format pushing it to the forefront of the streaming service.
Use Canvas videos to your heart’s content
How can you profit from those changes? Make sure to use Canvas videos in a more holistic way and embed them within your larger visual strategy for Spotify. That means, tying everything together with a coherent look in your header picture, profile picture and album art.
Another new and exciting feature is the ‘Countdown‘ page. It expands the idea of the pre-save as super fans will be notified when an artist creates one. If the fan then goes on and pre-saves the album or single, they’ll get notified when the album comes out. Also, a literal countdown will appear on the artist’s profile as well as the homepage. What is more, you can offer your fans deluxe videos and offer them the chance to preorder merch and much more.
This could give you ample space to drive up excitement within your fanbase and keep them engaged within the Spotify app. One thing that was lacking so far, in my humble opinion.
Clips – Spotify’s newest innovation in a bit against TikTok
The next big move from Spotify is to start a new feature called ‘Clips‘.
Until now, music streaming and short video consumption was happening on different platforms. Perhaps you looked at a short video Reel on Instagram and then headed over to Spotify to listen to the music at full length. Spotify wants to bridge this by including short videos within the streaming itself.
The new clips feature:
lets artists add 30-second videos to their artist profiles and album pages. The feature is designed to let fans go deeper into an artist’s music when listening to their content.*TechCrunch
It remains to be seen to which effect musicians will be in a position to create that amount of short video content though. Here’s the thing, it is understandable that Spotify wants to include short video content. However, that doesn’t mean that the internet stops spinning for it. You would still need to create short video content for Instagram, YouTube, TikTok and so on.
Knowing many musicians who already struggle to keep up with content production, I have many doubts if the clips feature will be accessible to all artists in terms of doability or if it remains a feature for major artists who can employ enough staff to handle the vast content production.
The advertising feature ‘Marquee’ now also available in the UK and Australia
The ‘Marquee‘ ads format was previously only available within the US. Now, Spotify is rolling it out for the UK and Australian markets as well. They claim that ‘Marquee’ is more than 10 times more cost-effective in order to get people to listen to music on Spotify than ads on social media platforms like Instagram with the same aim.
The next new feature isn’t declared as an ad, however, works quite like one. It is the much-discussed ‘Discovery Mode’.
Within the ‘Discovery Mode‘ artists and labels can promote tracks by not placing ads as traditionally handled. On the opposite, you literally pay with a lower royalty rate.
This feature was previously only available for selected artists and labels and now is rolled out for independent artists and labels as well. You can access this feature within Spotify for Artists.
Spotify says if an artists’ song is resonating with listeners, Discovery Mode will increase the likelihood that it’s recommended in both radio and autoplay. Every month, artists will be able to see reporting to understand how many new listeners were reached.*TechCrunch
Merchandise and Live Events will also benefit from the new Spotify Update 2023
Merch was a bit hidden, until the Spotify Update 2023. Only on the artist page right at the bottom could you see any merch that was sold through Merchbar. With the new Spotify Updates 2023, merch will also be seen on the Now Playing screen.
That way, fans can buy the marchandise right at the moment they’re falling in love with your song.*MusicAlly
But here’s the kicker, access to this feature is still gated through Merchbar. Until Spotify opens the merch corner for more options it remains a somewhat exclusive deal.
Live Events will also see more attention. Spotify is planning to roll out personalised gig recommendations across the whole app.
The Live Events feature is fed through the usage of Soundkicks ‘Tourbox’ feature. The great thing is, you don’t need proper tour dates, you can also put in your live streams as ‘digital concerts’. This is awesome, many of my clients struggle with booking and this can bridge the time until some real concerts can happen for you. What is more, live streams can shim any existing booking for people who love to stay at home.
Use the Songkick/Tourbox feature and display your concerts on Spotify
Important to realise, even though the Covid-Pandemic seems to be over, many people still have to take care of their health in a way that makes access to big concerts worrying for them. Not to say of people who cannot access venues due to disability issues. What is more, in today’s inflation-stricken economy, some music lovers simply won’t have the funds to pay for all the concert tickets they would love to get.
If you are just starting out you might need to work your way up on fans’ priority list for concerts as they don’t want to spend their money on musicians or bands they are not 100% sure of.
A couple of live streams can pave the way to more real bookings as well as much-needed fan support.
So, by all means, go and use the Songkick ‘Tourbox’ to your heart’s content and make the most out of the new Spotify Update 2023.
In line with these changes for merch and live dates comes the announcement that the ‘Fans First’ program is being expanded. The ‘Fans First’ program team within Spotify works together with artists and bands in order to offer super fans special goodies in the form of early access ticket sales or special editions of physical products. You can’t apply to this program though, Spotify will choose you and they worked together with big bands like Foofighters or Interpol as well as small and upcoming artists.
Why you should think about starting an artist podcast on Spotify
The Spotify Update 2023 also brought changes to the podcasting universe. Spotify has announced a strategic partnership with Patreon.
The funding platform is already a big favourite among podcasters in order to gather monetary support from fans. For a small amount of money each month (most subscriptions start with 5 $) you get premium access to your favourite podcasters’ content.
For example, a lot of creators offer an early release of new episodes or tonnes of bonus material. With the Spotify Update 2023, you can now offer Patreon-member exclusive content straight up on Spotify. This comes in really handy because it means that your podcast listeners won’t need to leave Spotify in order to access their special content.
This is crazy, you can totally start a podcast as a musician or band and profit from the support Spotify gives to podcasters. What is more, you can link your podcast perfectly to your overall storytelling strategy.
Tell stories of your tour bus or picture how it really feels to play live for the first time. There are endless topics fans would love to hear about that won’t require you to re-invent Harry Potter.
How to use the Spotify Update 2023 to your advantage
The new Spotify Update 2023 is going to be rolled out over a period of time worldwide. That means, it might not be active in your country as of now. Make sure to regularly check your Spotify for Artists and see what is available for you.
What is more, learn about the changes and make a decision about which one you can lean into and which of the changes is a stretch too far. Depending on your budget, time and support from possible staff, you can then plan on enforcing changes within your Spotify strategy.
For example, let’s say you are an up-and-coming DIY artist. Then you can definitely use the update in the Live Dates sector and the Merchbar integration. However, making more short-form video content might not be doable for you.
On the other hand, let’s say you are working in a record label and you are already doing tonnes of short-form videos for your musicians, then it is not difficult to run some more for future campaigns.
One thing is for certain, Spotify and the music streaming world are waiting for no one. With the rise of Artificial intelligence within the music industry it is only a matter of time before the really big next push will happen.
However, if you stay on top of your learning commitment, you are well-equipped to do the best decisions for your career.