Spotify has launched a new tool called Showcase that will let artists pay to promote their music to listeners on the platform’s Home feed. Artists can select a song or an entire album to appear as a mobile banner, which can be set to target a specific type of listener from 30 markets at launch. The banners will note that a recommendation has been sponsored.
Spotify gave us a sneak preview of Showcase at its Stream On event earlier this year as one of many new additions in a top-down revamp of its mobile app’s core homescreen. The rollout of Showcase began on Tuesday, and over the next few weeks, US artists with at least 1,000 streams in the last 28 days should see Showcase appear in the campaigns tab of Spotify for Artists.
The streaming platform is pitching the feature as a way to maintain the momentum of new releases. “Promoting new releases also remains critical, but not only during the release moment: On average, 75% of a release’s first-year streams happen after the first month,” stated Spotify in its blog post announcing the feature.
While Showtime has an upside for artists, the jury is out on how users will react to promoted content on an increasingly packed home screen. Artists will be able to tap into prime real estate, reaching users when they first open the app. But the downside for users is they’ll see what are effectively ads right on their homescreen — albeit ones theoretically targeted to them.
Artists can also pick from a variety of headlines for the Showcase banner, including “Release anniversary,” “Getting buzz,” “New release,” and others. A holiday-specific song — such as a tune for Valentine’s Day or Christmas — can fall under “Seasonal vibes.”
One notable perk to Showcase for artists is that it lets artists specifically target their most enthusiastic fans or hone in on more casual listeners. A Showcase campaign can target a band’s “active audience,” which Spotify defines as listeners who have intentionally played a song over the past 28 days from sources like a band’s artist profile, album and release pages, or the user’s own library and playlists. Showcase campaigns can target “super” listeners (the most dedicated active listeners from over the past 28 days), “moderate” listeners (those who have streamed songs less frequently but have potential to be super fans), and “light” listeners, which covers anyone who’s streamed a song once or twice over the past 28 days. Showcase campaigns can also target a much wider audience of “previously active” listeners who haven’t intentionally listened to an artist’s music over the past month — but were once active listeners.
Artists who use Showcase will be able to see a detailed breakdown of each campaign, including metrics on how it did with their most engaged fan base versus new listeners and those who haven’t listened for over two years. Budgets for Showcase start at $100 and are priced on a CPC — or “cost per click” — basis. In other words, Spotify will charge artists for each user based on a budget they can specify.