Spotify has announced the launch of Rise, a new feature designed to identify and promote emerging artists.
The world’s biggest streaming service is kicking its music discovery efforts into a higher gear. Friday (Oct. 20) marks the launch of RISE, an emerging artist program that leverages the platform’s promotional resources for a hand-picked roster of up-and-coming musicians.
“We have the biggest distribution system in the world for streaming music so why not use that to help young artists,” Troy Carter, Spotify’s global head of creator services, tells Billboard.
The first round of RISE picks features electro-R&B crooner Lauv, German pop dynamo Kim Petras, pop-friendly country artist Russell Dickerson and 18-year-old Ohio-born rapper Trippie Redd. Within Spotify, RISE participants will get preferential, mixed-media playlist placement and editorial programming; outside, they’ll enjoy specialized live events and even television ads.
Carter declined to reveal how much money is being invested in each RISE artist, but stated Spotify is “putting significant resources into these partnerships.”
Spotify has ample reason to foster a stable of artists outside the major label ecosystem, but Carter stresses RISE will not act as a surrogate “record label” within the streaming service. He notes Spotify has “no interest” in owning copyrights and will not take cuts of RISE artists’ touring and merchandise. They’re also open to artists who are already with majors.
For now, though, the RISE roster contains predominantly indie and unsigned artists.
Carter says RISE plans to support 16 emerging artists per year, adding four newcomers every few months. Spotify figures to have a deep pool of future picks, in large part to the resources it’s offered up-and-comers for years.
“Spotify has been the biggest reason why I’ve been able to have a career and be independent this far,” Fletcher says. “It’s been a very open dialogue. I listen to their feedback and ask their advice. Instead of just being like, ‘Hey, I’m going to put this out. How can you help with me this?’ it’s like, ‘What do you guys think about this? How does this fit into your plans for what you’re pushing over the next few months?’”
Regarding RISE, “passion project” is a term Carter drops frequently. He acknowledges the 2017 playing field is often too diverse for one platform — be it a label, streaming service, media outlet — to truly break an artist the way it could in bygone eras. “We just want to be a place that artists will go and feel at home,” he says. “What MTV was. What BET was. What HOT 97 was.” The multi-pronged reality means even occasionally embracing competitors: “We want you to have the number one record on iTunes.”