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Inside Spotify's New Music Friday Playlist Redesign

Spotify's 2020 New Music Friday campaign
Courtesy of Spotify

Spotify's 2020 New Music Friday campaign. 

Including a new look, Times Square ads, social sharing cards for artists and more.

Spotify has overhauled its New Music Friday playlist, bringing a fresh design to a playlist that features more than 3.5 million followers in the U.S. and 8 million followers globally, the streaming service tells Billboard. The updated playlist will feature a new logo and color scheme, and artists featured on the playlist will be displayed in Times Square in New York City, Downtown Los Angeles, and Yonge & Dundas Square in Toronto as part of a new marketing campaign around New Music Friday.

This is the fourth playlist that Spotify has redesigned and put serious marketing dollars behind, after Rap Caviar, Hot Country and Viva Latino, which have all received updates over the past couple years. Unlike Rap Caviar and Viva Latino, New Music Friday won’t feature vertical videos in the playlist, which Spotify says is due in part to the lack of music videos that drop when songs are initially released and the short turnaround for curating the playlist. 

“I think Spotify has become known for a lot of these brands that have almost become as important as the brand Spotify overall,” Sarah Patellos, business lead, artist & label services at Spotify, tells Billboard in an interview. “I think you've seen that with Rap Caviar, it's taken a life of its own, same thing with Viva Latino and Hot Country that have both given us opportunity to connect with a specific audience. New Music Friday has almost become one of these brands on its own, but we never did a proper relaunch or proper rebranding of it, so this is an opportunity to bring that to market.”

New Music Friday is fully curated by humans, given the time constraints and lack of data around unreleased music, Jeremy Erlich, Spotify’s co-head of music tells Billboard. “The way that we look at the playlisting ecosystem, the personalization is a fantastic tool that our users love, but there are also these kind of cultural moment playlists -- which are the same for everyone -- which are incredibly important for that social dialogue that happens,” Erlich says. “Our playlisting ecosystem will always be a mixture of fully human-curated, personalized and algorithm-based, and we want them all to live together for different use cases. And so far it's been working quite well.”

Spotify has also created social sharing cards for artists in Spotify for Artists that will allow them to easily promote their appearance on the playlist. “New Music Friday is the number one playlist brand that artists talk about on social, so we see artists every week making their own New Music Friday card that they'll post to Instagram, or going onto Twitter and saying, ‘Oh my gosh, I'm on New Music Friday,’” Patellos says. “It's something that we see them really celebrate and really excited about, so we thought about how to make that more seamless for them.” The social share card will initially be available in the U.S. market -- there are 43 local versions of New Music Friday -- but Spotify hopes to expand it to its other locales.

Courtesy of Spotify
Spotify's 2020 New Music Friday campaign. 

“When my first song ‘Bruises’ was released I remember sitting awake all night at home seeing the song in so many New Music Fridays as the different time zones hit midnight -- it’s one of those moments I’ll never forget,” the Scottish singer Lewis Capaldi tells Billboard

“My first-ever released song was included on the last New Music Tuesday and I was the first ever unsigned artist to be the cover of the playlist,” the pop singer FLETCHER said of her debut single “War Paint,” which was released in 2015. “At the time, I was a student at NYU interning for a small publishing company and a part of my job was to look through the playlist every week and find unsigned artists and writers. So it was beyond ironic when my boss, who didn’t even know I was an artist, was giving me super confused looks as he’s staring at the playlist cover and then staring at me and blurts out “this girl looks like you.” 

The updated version of New Music Friday is available across Spotify’s myriad of apps. 

Courtesy of Spotify
Spotify's 2020 New Music Friday campaign.