The “artist relations” role is one that’s usually associated with record labels but it’s one that is becoming more common for streaming services to have as well. That’s largely because those services are trying to help artists not just accumulate streams of their music, something that doesn’t pay any party well, but also sell merchandise, ticket sales and more. That’s the gist of this op-ed at Hypebot, which talks about the efforts Spotify, YouTube and Pandora have put in place to bridge that revenue gap with additional income opportunities. It’s an interesting example, in some ways, of positive feature creep, where a single-usage service expands beyond its original mission statement. Often that turns things into a muddled mess but in this case that hasn’t happened (yet) and is, more importantly, designed to actually add value to audiences and stakeholders.
Also of note is this interview with a Spotify exec where he says exclusives are bad for the music industry and ultimately bad for artists because they encourage people who aren’t subscribers or users of the service getting the exclusive not to sign up but to pirate it, a position I agree with. This is not just an issue in the music industry but also with movie and TV services. Netflix, Hulu and Amazon all have both their original productions and are snapping up exclusives for shows and movies. But if I’m a Netflix subscriber and the show I want to watch is on Hulu, I’m just not going to watch it. Or someone might get a friend’s password or just torrent it and skip the middleman. It’s better, I think, to compete on features and user experience than it is on exclusive material like this since all it does is limit audience choice and encourage bad behavior.
(update: News broke today that Spotify had added a Concerts tab to showcase concerts near you. This is absolutely in line with what’s discussed above in terms of value adds.)