Spotify introduces new dashboard, gives data to artists

Steven Loeb · November 17, 2015 · Short URL:

The company doesn't have the best relationship with artists, so perhaps this is a way of making nice

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It's no secret of the animosity that many artists have toward streaming services, specifically Spotify. Earlier this year, Jimmy Buffy flat out asked Spotify CEO Daniel Ek for a raise. Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke called the service, "the last desperate fart of a dying corpse." And then there was the stand that Taylor Swift took, removing all of her music from platform.

Spotify has something it is counting on artists wanting, though. Something it is betting will get them to come onto its platform, or stay there. And that is data.

On Tuesday the company announced the release of Spotify Fan Insights, which it calls "a dashboard that helps artists better understand their Spotify listeners to more effectively grow and engage their fan base."

Information will include who their fans are, including demographic information, as well as where their listeners are in the world and how this audience is evolving and growing over time. Artists will also be able to know wow their fan base is listening and their other music preferences, for example if they listen to expert playlists or a their own collection.

Through “Fan Engagement," which shows how many fans tuned in over the past month, and surfaces unique listener they will be able t see how passionate and engaged their fans are.

"We’re constantly looking for ways to bring artists and fans closer together and we’ve worked closely with artists and their teams to understand the most useful insights we can provide," Spotify said.

And it certainly has plenty of data to provide, given that it has over 75 million users and 1.7 billion hours of listening each month which adds up to 20 billion listening hours a year.

It was clear that data was on Spotify's mind ever since the company purchased music intelligence company The Echo Nest early last year.

It's a little surprising that Spotify wouldn't try to charge artists for this information, though that may have been seen as an antagonistic move with a community that, like I said earlier, already doesn't really like it.

Spotify could use the money though, as the company is seeing mounting losses due to royalties. 

The majority of Spotify's revenue comes from its premium tier. In 2014, Spotify saw $1.3 billion in revenue, a 45% year-to-year increase. Of that, over 90% was said to have come from subscription fees. 

Despite the fact that it has the opposite model of Pandora, which makes almost all of its money off of its advertising model, Spotify is in a similar boat: despite its enormous revenue, it is losing money quickly due to royalties.

The company reported net losses of $197 million in 2014, up from a loss of about $68 million in 2013.

Perhaps giving artists this data for free is something of an olive branch, a way to make nice after things turned a bit sour earlier this year.

Right now Spotify Fan Insights it is in limited beta on desktop computers, with a basic version is available on mobile, and it will be released to a broader audience in the coming months.

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