Spotify’s new artist app tells musicians how many people are listening to their music in real-time

Spotify's new app for artists gives access to real-time audience data.
Image: Spotify

As streaming maintains its dominant position as the preferred medium for music listeners, artists are now tasked with not only creating music but figuring out how to optimize it. As in most industries, data makes the world go round. Now, Spotify is giving artists the tools they need to capitalize on that data. 

Earlier this week the streaming giant announced a revamped app for artists. The redesigned app provides musicians with minute-by-minute listening stats and access to in-depth, real-time data about their fans and audience. 

You Don’t Need Better Lyrics, Just Better Analytics

The new app gives artists an arsenal of data points that reveal just how much (or, depressingly, how little) people are listening to their music. It also shows artists how many people worldwide are listening to their songs at any given moment. Meanwhile, the updated app comes equipped with some helpful graphs that chart streams, followers, and listeners over a specific period of time. Artists can then see the source of those streams (e.g. off playlists or from a listener’s personalized library). 

Spotify has also integrated “milestones” into the app. These include momentous occasions like when an artist makes it onto a curated playlist or when they gain new followers. Artists can now track how well their new songs have “performed” after they hit the service with real-time listening stats. 

More intriguing is the app’s home tab. There, Spotify will provide artists with tips and recommendations on “how to get the most out of Spotify.

Of course, this can mean any number of things. More money? More listeners? How to grease palms to get on the most popular playlists? How Spotify doles out advice to musicians while maintaining a measured degree of transparency will be interesting to watch. For now, the streaming service says that the home tab will allow artists to watch presentations from its Co.Lab events. It will also include advice from popular fellow musicians.

The news of the revamped artist app comes after Apple Music made its musician analytics platform openly available. It gives artists very similar access to data about their work and an easy way to see how listeners are interacting with it.

More Data, Same Problems

Though the artist app is a welcome addition, it doesn’t solve all of the problems for artists and songwriters on streaming platforms. The music industry still struggles with the massive issue that is music metadata. While an artist may have some tools at their disposal to optimize their music and cut through the Spotify clutter, there simply isn’t enough control. Nothing an artist does will matter if the metadata for their tracks is incorrect or doesn’t surface correctly for everyone featured on a song.

Of course, the problem of metadata is not solely Spotify’s problem; it’s an industry-wide can of worms. Added to Spotify’s ongoing, widely-reported paltry payout for artists, however, the issue grows significantly. While the move to give musicians better access to data is helpful, it resembles more of a marketing stunt and less of something that helps the artists who are propping up the service.

On the bright side, you can see who’s listening to your song in Brazil while stocking shelves at your daytime retail job to pay the rent.