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GENIUS LESSONS: SPOTIFY'S STREAM OF SONGWRITER STUFF

Music consumers tend to be intimately familiar with the artists who record their favorite songs, but not with the writers who create them. Spotify is attempting to change that with its Secret Genius program, designed to shine some much-needed light on key tunesmiths. The initiative includes everything from curated playlists and podcasts to an awards show planned for the fall.

 “When you look at the millions of songs on Spotify, the common denominator is often a writer or producer,” says Tiffany Kumar, Spotify’s Global Head of Songwriter Relations. “We have songwriters and producers with billions of streams on Spotify on combined songs they’ve written for other artists. It’s great to build that bridge with them.”

They’ve gotten the ball rolling with global Songshops–three-day intensives led by Spotify-designated “Global Ambassadors,” who curate for the songwriters in attendance.

Two Songshops were held in June, one at L.A.’s famed Conway Studios and the other in Nashville. The L.A. event was hosted by Ricky Reed (Sony/ATV) and Justin Tranter (Warner/Chappel), while Nashville was curated by Creative Nation’s Lori McKenna.

The L.A. Songshop spawned a plethora of collaborations, Kumar notes. Republic’s Julia Michaels partnered with Warner/Chappel’s Ian Kirkpatrick and Tranter, while James Arthur (Columbia) wrote with Reed, as did Interscope’s James Fauntleroy

“It’s really great to be part of these songs from infancy and following their journey to possibly becoming hits on Spotify,” Kumar says.

The Songshops are good for the songwriters, but also good business for Spotify. Global Head of Shows and Editorial Nick Holmsten, was at Conway, visiting from Sweden. “He was able to meet with some of these writers and listen to some early demos,” Kumar explains, noting it’s a policy “to make sure that shows and editorial get a first look into these songs, maybe even before they’re pitched to an artist. It’s a really great chance to build a bridge from our songwriters to our shows and editorial team.”

The Nashville event at Southern Ground Studios was significantly more intimate. Participants includedsuch hitmakers as Creative Nation founders Luke and Beth Laird, Natalie HembyBarry Dean and Luke Dick, along with curator McKenna; they collaborated with new CN artist Kassi Ashton.

We want the songwriter, producer and publisher to embrace it and find it valuable to them building their careers,” Kumar elaborates, “but my dream would be for the consumer to fall in love with the writers behind the hits and dive in a little deeper, and be able to go through the playlists and see, ‘Oh look, Ricky Reed produced the new Halsey single!’ Then be able to look through the playlist and see he also did Meghan Trainor, Jason Derulo, 21 Pilots–for me as a music fan, that’s always really interesting.”

The next Songshop will be held in Toronto, featuring Drake and Rhianna producer Boi-1da.

Rumors that a supergroup of imaginary artists from Sweden was also being assembled couldn’t be confirmed at presstime.

 


First photo: Justin Tranter and friends get to the chorus.

Second photo: Ricky Reed gets it all dialed in.

Third photo: James Fauntleroy takes it to the bridge.

Fourth photo: Barry Dean, Luke Dick, Natalie Hemby, Luke Laird, Lori McKenna and Kassi Ashton make it sing.

photo credits: Spotify

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