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Spotify announces a program to ‘identify and break’ new music superstars

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2017 Billboard Hot 100 Festival - Day 2 Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for Billboard Magazine

Spotify just announced a new program called RISE, intended to “identify and break the next wave of music superstars.”

The promises of the program are a little vague, but Spotify says its hand-picked artists will be aided with “multi-tiered marketing” and “editorial programming,” including social promotion, a special “mixed-media” RISE playlist, “bespoke” videos about their life stories, and some kind of platform-sponsored “experiential” events.

Reached for comment, a Spotify representative clarified that the experiential events will be similar to the Fan First events that the platform already organizes, using its data to identify an artist’s biggest fans and give them exclusive or early access to tickets. The mixed-media playlist will be similar to the featured playlist Rap Caviar, which has audio and music videos in one list.

The first four RISE artists are announced in the post, and indicate that the program is for artists that are already pretty successful, but haven’t quite hit the mainstream. The list includes German pop singer Kim Petras, who already has nearly 1 million monthly listens on Spotify and was previously featured on its Pop Rising, Out Now, Wake Up Happy, HIIT-Pop, and New Music Friday playlists; Lauv, who is the 57th most popular artist on the platform and whose May single “I Like Me Better” is already on Spotify’s Global Top 50 chart; Russell Dickerson, a country singer who performed on the most recent season of The Bachelorette; and Trippie Redd, one of the success stories of Spotify’s Rap Caviar, which New York magazine recently dubbed “the most influential playlist in music.”

The post also notes that Spotify has made a deal with Delta, to feature RISE artists on airplane seatbacks.

The platform has an oft-stated interest in discovering and featuring new talent, most prominently on its Fresh Finds playlist, which uses natural language processing to crawl music blogs and check their recommendations against the listening patterns of 50,000 “early adopter” Spotify users. Plenty of ink has already been spilled about how Spotify’s featured playlists can move a new artist up the streaming charts and push them toward further success, and Spotify appears to be capitalizing on that reputation with RISE.