Spotify’s flagship country playlist, Hot Country, is now enhanced with video. The newly enhanced playlist follows the recent video integrations of fellow Spotify playlists such as Rap Caviar and Viva Latino, which combine music and video into a single view, allowing Spotify users to listen to their favorite audio tracks, as well as watch original interviews and music videos featuring their favorite artists on the on-demand streaming service.
The Hot Country enhanced playlist launches today (Friday, April 27) with content from Keith Urban, who releases his latest album, Graffiti U, today, as well as content from Kacey Musgraves and a special performance from Justin Timberlake and Chris Stapleton.
On Hot Country, Urban will offer viewers a behind-the-scenes look at his extensive guitar collection, as he discusses his love of playing in his new home studio, and looks at the inspiration behind his new album.
Urban said, “Spotify has been an amazing partner, helping me to connect my music with people all over the planet. On their new Hot Country playlist people will not only hear Graffiti U, they’ll be able to come inside the studio with me and see a bit about the making of the album. Can’t wait for everyone to hear it.”
According to Brittany Schaffer, Head of Artist and Label Marketing at Spotify’s Nashville office, the country music audience has been slower to adopt streaming than audiences of other genres. However, she says “country artists have been craving the attention of the streaming services to help bring the country audience into streaming and craving a deeper ability to connect with and expand their audiences,” she says. “The enhancement of the Hot Country playlist is Spotify’s first significant step in helping artists do just that.”
Schaffer also notes that the enhanced playlist is only the beginning of Spotify’s collaboration with the country industry. “Spotify is serious about making an impact in country music, and the launch of the Hot Country enhanced playlist is only the first step in showing that commitment,” she says. “This opportunity is opening new doors for current and potential listeners of country music, in Nashville and around the world. Our commitment doesn’t start and end with the launch of Hot Country.”
To bring more Hot Country to its more than 4.5 million followers worldwide, the enhanced playlist feature will also launch in four additional markets outside the U.S.: Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and Spain (in addition to the UK, Sweden, and Latin America).
According to John Marks, Programming Head of Country Music at Spotify, the audience for country music will only keep growing. “There are multiple awakenings happening right now. Streaming is opening a global market. There’s been a hybridizing of other international music into the country playlists, which is opening people’s eyes and minds to country music in other countries. Launching in those markets—which have very active fan bases—will start to speed up the process.”
Marks, who has a long history working in Nashville with country industry and artists, is enthusiastic about the partnership—and he’s not the only one, he says. “The Nashville music industry and Nashville artists have really embraced this idea out of the shoot. We have some big stars on board with Keith Urban and Kenny Chesney, and there are plenty others on queue. It’s really been gratifying to see how quickly and how nimbly everyone in the industry has supported this idea of enhanced playlists and to see it all come together.”
Executives from Sony Music Nashville, Universal Music Group Nashville, and Warner Music Nashville also weighed in on the newly enhanced playlist.
“Late last year when Spotify rolled out their Open House they talked about Nashville as such an important market and musical identity that they were focused on growing, and I really wanted to believe it was true,” said UMG Nashville’s Cindy Mabe. “Coming into 2018, I watched the thorough roll out of the Cover Stories, a weekly video series with the Hot Country enhanced playlist and I am absolutely blown away. The most important job I do is to tell our artists’ stories and vision for what they have to say through their music so the fans can connect. Spotify has truly put their money where their mouth is with their investment in Nashville while leaning into our artists’ stories in order to grow the audience. I know there is a lot more yet to be rolled out but I am so excited to watch as Spotify brings our music to our fans in new and exciting ways.”
“Not only is Spotify’s relaunch of Hot Country another clear sign of their deepening commitment to country music, it’s also an indicator that fans of our genre are consuming music in more new ways than ever before, through video and on their phones,” said Warner Music Nashville’s John Esposito. “The addition of video content to the playlist will surely bring a deeper connection between the fans and the artists they love. Music and video are certainly going to “Get Along” together on Hot Country!”
“We’re so excited that Spotify is furthering their investment in country music by offering another level of media to their Hot Country playlist!” said Sony Music Nashville’s Randy Goodman. “More new ways we can showcase our artists and grow country music streaming in general is a great and welcome thing!”
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