The Biggest New Artist on Tour in 2018 Is... Spotify - Rolling Stone
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The Biggest New Artist on Tour in 2018 Is… Spotify

Streaming service is turning playlists into tours as it takes on more of the music industry

Spotify Is Turning Its Biggest Playlists Into ToursSpotify Is Turning Its Biggest Playlists Into Tours

Spotify's Viva Latino and RapCaviar playlists are going on tour, positioning the service as a potential future competitor to Live Nation.

Michael Buckner/Variety/REX/Shutterstock

Spotify’s RapCaviar and ¡Viva Latino! playlists, already some of the most powerful spheres of influence in the music industry, are now also looking to be some of the most lucrative.

The music-streaming service announced tour dates this week for “¡Viva Latino! Live,” a concert series featuring popular Latin music artists from its playlist of the same name that boasts more than 8 million followers. Daddy Yankee, Becky G, Natti Natasha, Bad Bunny and Jowell & Randy are among the artists confirmed to perform in the series. The tour kicks off in Chicago on August 23rd and tickets will be available on Ticketmaster starting June 29th.

It’s not the streaming service’s first foray into live music, or even one of them. Spotify already has a tour version of its immensely popular RapCaviar playlist – “RapCaviar Live,” which started as a six-date tour last August and became a 13-date series in its second iteration this year with hit artists like 2Chainz, Lil Pump and Migos – and also recently announced “Hot Country Live,” a July 4th concert in New York headlined by Carrie Underwood that is meant to be a live version of its (you guessed it) popular Hot Country playlist.

Turning listeners into concert-goers is a smart way to generate revenue. The live events industry has been booming in the last decade, with new concerts and festivals popping up faster than most fans can keep up, and Spotify is already halfway into being a big player in that space. At the streaming service’s investor day in March, Spotify’s global head of creator services Troy Carter announced that Spotify’s Fans First program – through which the company gives exclusive or unique offers to devoted fans – worked with 700 artists and made $40 million in ticket sales in 2017. (To put that in perspective: John Mayer’s world tour in 2017, spanning three continents, made $50 million.) “We have a lot more coming in 2018,” Carter said.

But taking its signature playlists on the road isn’t just a guaranteed money-maker for Spotify – it’s another way the streaming service is solidifying its place in every aspect of the music industry. In addition to its buffet-style offering of tens of millions of songs for music listeners, Spotify also has record-label-esque features for artists, including an analytics platform and an emerging artist program; it has hired product managers to make a physical product, suggesting an upcoming foray into the music hardware space; its robust discovery platform, which is built by both algorithms and human curators, makes it a solid alternative to radio stations.

RapCaviar Live was co-promoted with Live Nation, and the ¡Viva Latino! tour right now is being sold through Ticketmaster, which is owned by Live Nation. Yet it wouldn’t be a surprise to soon see Spotify – especially as its playlists swell in size, number and influence – taking on the live music industry as more of a competitor than a partner.

In This Article: Hip-Hop, Latin, music industry


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