In March, Spotify gave a visibility boost to artists across the spectrum of country and Americana music with the launch of its Indigo playlist. The playlist now has more than 255,000 followers and highlights artists from country radio mainstays such as Eric Church, Maren Morris and Miranda Lambert, but also Americana and singer-songwriter favorites such as Brandy Clark, Cody Jinks, Will Hoge, Marcus King, Rhiannon Giddens, Tyler Childers, and more.
Today, the streaming service is doubling down on ways to bring music fans deeper into the artists’ stories, with the launch of a new playlist video format that will run weekly throughout September for the Indigo playlist.
Beginning today, the first artist to be highlighted through the new video assets is Orville Peck, who released his EP Show Pony on Aug. 14. Peck focuses as intensely on the visual aspects of his work as the musical side, and recently issued an attention-grabbing music video for “Legends Never Die,” featuring superstar Shania Twain.
MusicRow Magazine discussed the new video playlist enhancement with Mary Catherine Kinney, Manager, Spotify Artist & Label Partnerships, Spotify Nashville.
Since the Indigo playlist launched earlier this year, what kind of response have you been getting from listeners and from artists and their management teams about this new offering?
Kinney: The response to Indigo has been resounding excitement from artists, fans and our industry partners. More than a year ago, our Spotify Nashville team identified the opportunity for a playlist of Indigo’s nature by observing user listening habits on-platform combined with what was happening in the culture as well. We had an inkling this playlist would strike a chord, but the overwhelmingly positive response and consistent growth of daily consumption has been really thrilling to witness.
The first artist you will highlight with the video feature is Orville Peck. What makes him such a great artist to launch this feature with?
With this new video feature, the goal is to bring an artists’ music to life for their fans in another dimension within a playlist and Orville felt like a great fit. His creative vision combined with the stories behind his new project Show Pony really created a beautiful piece.
He is a highly visually-oriented artist. What was it like working with his team to select and create content to further promote his work on the Indigo playlist?
I’ll never forget the first meeting the team had with Orville at WME’s office in Nashville last year. We were spellbound by the music, his stories, the authenticity of his sound and his vision for the lines he is writing in the country music narrative. In between talking about his vision for Pony and his deep affection for country music, he shared the iconic images from his first GQ photo shoot and the concept behind his stunning mask collaboration with Dior. He brings his music to life in all forms of art and design, so working with him on this feature, we knew he’d have a great eye for what to create. Due to the circumstances and social distancing practices, we leaned on self-shot content from Orville and he was incredibly creative in how he used the tools at hand for this piece.
Can you say more about the playlist video format and what is most exciting to you about that?
Country music is built on stories and songs, so this video feature for Indigo truly provides an exciting opportunity for Spotify to offer artists a chance to take fans behind the curtain and into the creative process of their music.
Could this promotion go beyond September?
Spotify is always exploring new on-platform avenues that bring artists and fans closer together to encourage discovery and listening. The inaugural slate for September is really exciting, so stay tuned!
What message do you hope offerings like this send to artists who have a harder time getting airplay on traditional country radio?
I think this is a really exciting time for country artists as there are more diverse opportunities than ever before to connect with fans. From Spotify playlists to radio and social media, the various lanes to reach current and future fans are growing as the genre’s audience continues to expand.
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