The Discovery Dead End
“Discovery” has certainly been the buzzword for the last few years, but the problem is that we still haven’t figured out the next steps after someone hears a song. I listen to music all day long but not much of it sticks with me, just because I get no direction from streaming platforms. I have to manually search for artists I like when I’m listening at home, and I have to actually remember to go back through a playlist and search for an artist if I hear something I like when I’m out. And I’m someone who cares about music more than most people.
There are a couple of possible remedies for this. One, streaming services could offer more links out to follow artists on other platforms. Spotify and Apple Music both have their own internal platforms, so I certainly understand why they want to keep people in the services — the problem is that both these internal platforms kinda stink.
In the end, just being “discovered” on a playlist doesn’t mean much to an artist. If services truly want to help artists monetize and build careers, the least they can do is direct listeners to other opportunities to follow, engage with, and support the artist. But artists also have a role to play, by making sure that their content is worth engaging with.
This harks back to an earlier post regarding the social Internet unwisely evolving into a series of closed ecosystems. The author’s points are valid, and keeping an artist’s fans within a closed network (and one that’s not that great, i.e. Apple’s ‘Connect’) doesn’t cultivate a positive experience for the user. An excited fan wants access to it all – the band’s social networks, websites, maybe even a Bandcamp link for purchasing the music (of course, I understand why Apple may not consider that last one). This not only helps the artists but I feel a richer, well-rounded fan experience will make users more enthusiastic about the streaming service they are using. This more than makes up for the trade-off of potentially sending users to an external site … they’ll certainly come back knowing that their requirements as music fanatics will be catered to.