Spotify Has Opened Its Release Radar Playlist to Advertisers — Beginning With Disney+

Spotify hacked again
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Spotify hacked again
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Photo Credit: Alexander Shatov

Half a decade after debuting Release Radar, Spotify has officially opened the personalized playlist to advertisers – beginning with Disney+.

Stockholm-based Spotify just recently revealed that Release Radar is joining Discover Weekly and On Repeat in embracing “advertising sponsorship,” with higher-ups having detailed the development in a blog post entitled “Spotify’s Release Radar Personalized Playlist Celebrates Five Years and 16 Billion Streams.”

As this title suggests, the article reiterates at the outset that Release Radar has generated north of 16 billion streams to date; Spotify in April announced that the two-year-old On Repeat playlist had reached 12 billion global streams. Of particular note with regard to Release Radar, however, is that over half of listeners are between the ages of 18 and 29, according to Spotify.

Additionally, Spotify – which earlier this week criticized Apple’s recent App Store concessions for “reader” apps – disclosed a list of the top-five songs and artists that Release Radar “listeners had on their radars.” It’s unclear which timeframe the lists cover, but the April blog post for On Repeat noted that the featured lists were based upon data from “this past year,” and the oldest track on the Release Radar list, “Over Now” by Calvin Harris and The Weeknd, debuted in August of 2020.

“Over Now” was followed by Billie Eilish’s “Your Power,” “Floating Through Space” by David Guetta and Sia, Ed Sheeran’s “Afterglow,” and “Spicy” by Ty Dolla $ign and Post Malone. The list of leading Release Radar artists, for its part, features David Guetta, Sia, J Balvin, Dua Lipa, and Khalid.

While the document doesn’t include Release Radar’s geographic listenership stats, the aforementioned April announcement for On Repeat indicated that the U.S. ranked first in terms of On Repeat’s listeners per country – despite the fact that North America accounted for just 24 percent of Spotify’s 365 million MAUs as of Q2 2021 – followed by the UK, Mexico, Germany, and Brazil, respectively.

Regarding the initially mentioned Release Radar “advertising sponsorship,” Spotify’s corresponding blog post relays towards its conclusion: “For the first time, Release Radar is joining the ranks of Discover Weekly and On Repeat as the third personalized playlist available for advertising sponsorship. This opportunity allows brands to align with a playlist that sits at the intersection of innovation and culture.”

As noted, Disney+ is Release Radar’s “first U.S. launch partner” – TurboTax was the first for On Repeat – and the video-streaming platform intends to promote its recently released Happier Than Ever: A Love Letter To Los Angeles, a “cinematic concert experience” starring UMG’s Billie Eilish.

Release Radar’s opening to advertisers represents just the latest in a long line of efforts from Spotify to cash in on its perceived value as a marketing and promotional tool – though these initiatives haven’t arrived without opposition. Congress, for instance, launched an inquiry in June into Spotify’s royalty-reducing “Discovery Mode,” which allows labels and artists to influence listener recommendations without paying an upfront fee – provided that they accept a “promotional recording royalty rate” for the resulting streams.