Streaming expert Mike Warner joins this episode to set the record straight on what playlists really can, and cannot, do for artists' careers. How does one build a playlist strategy that optimizes for fandom? What does it mean to be "ready" for a placement on New Music Friday, and how can artists maximize their preparation? How can you ensure that third-party playlist pitching services aren't ripping you off? And how will the playlist as a format continue to evolve in the future? At the end, Mike and I discuss whether the launches of both Spotify's and Facebook's music offerings in India and other emerging markets are overrated or underrated.
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[3:32] Interview with Mike Warner begins
[5:14] My original tweet claiming that "playlist placement isn't artist development":
[5:41] My email newsletter issue about our new "post-playlist" reality:
[11:48] There are many other resources online about how to "optimize" your Spotify profile for discoverability and follows, such as on this blog:
[17:35] Spotify shut down third-party playlisting pitching service Spotlister for breaching the former's terms of service, as illuminated in an investigation by The Daily Dot:
[22:42] Playlist SEO is real, and there are ways artists can use it to their benefit (instead of, you know, for scamming people):
[29:00] As I and a few other writers have covered recently, the role and power of music publicists has changed rather dramatically over the last five years in the wake of streaming and other digital trends:
[32:40] Keith Jopling's blog post about the future of playlist innovation for MIDiA Research:
[33:51] Spotify launched a collection of horoscope playlists in January 2019, in collaboration with "resident astrologer" Chani Nicholas:
[38:32] Overrated/Underrated segment begins
[38:51] Facebook announced new music licensing deals in India, Thailand, Vietnam and other markets across Asia during SXSW:
[39:40] In January 2018, a study by Diffusion Group found that 50% of adult Facebook users in the U.S. had never heard of the free Watch video service, while 24% had heard of it but never used it.
[42:42] Around Spotify's launch in the U.S., the streaming service relied heavily on Facebook for acquiring users and spreading a reputation of the service as "social-friendly."
[43:18] Spotify launched in India in February 2019—but without some clickbait-friendly legal action from Warner Music Group.
[46:00] In December 2019, Indian streaming service Saavn merged with the music arm of Reliance Jio, one of India's biggest telcos:
[47:05] Deezer is known for relying heavily on telco partnerships for customer acquisition, even if those customers don't stay around for long—leading to a phenomenon that MIDiA Research has called "zombie users":
[47:21] Here's a recap of the most-streamed songs on Spotify India in the first week:
[48:55] Apple is expected to launch a video subscription service later this month:
What is Water & Music?
The fine print of big ideas in music and technology, hosted by Cherie Hu and featuring a curated selection of leaders, innovators, artists and thinkers from across the music business. This is an ad-free audio companion to the eponymous email newsletter.