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News July 14, 2016

Spotify takes battle to Beats 1 with radio-like playlists

Senior Journalist, B2B
Spotify takes battle to Beats 1 with radio-like playlists

Spotify has taken the battle to Apple’s Beats 1 by launching the first of two new artist-hosted radio programs. The shows are called AM/PM and Secret Genius, and part of Spotify’s Originals series.

For the inaugural AM/PM, the Swedish music streaming service brought in rapper Tinie Tempah, Wolf Alice’s frontwoman Ellie Rowsell, electronic music pioneer Jean Michel Jarre and Terry Hall of The Specials. They talk about their favourite morning and night music, and curate songs for both times.

Other names used in the series include British singer songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Lianne La Havas, indie rock band The Maccabees, US hip hop pioneers De La Soul, Kaiser Chief’s main writer Ricky Wilson and keyboardist and Hot Chip singer Alexis Taylor.

Secret Genius has an interview format with producers and songwriters discussing and playing their works. The first three instalments feature James Blake (on working with Beyonce, and why he turned down a request from Drake four years ago to use one of his beats on 0 to 100 / The Catch Up “because I only sent it as a collaborative idea, not to be sampled on a record”), one time Cutting Crew member Nick Van Eede, OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder and Ed Drewett who collaborates with The Wanted, Olly Murs and One Direction.

Two future profiles are with Scott English and Don Black, writers who’ve notched up huge Top 40 hits in Australia as well as abroad.

English’s Brandy was renamed Mandy by Barry Manilow when he recorded it. His other hits were American Breed’s Bend Me Shape Me, Australian singer Lynne Randell’s Ciao Baby, Eric Burdon’s Help Me Girl and Jeff Beck’s Hi Ho Silver Lining.

Black is a multi-award winning lyricist for a series of James Bond theme songs (Thunderball, Diamonds Are Forever, The Man with the Golden Gun) as well as Matt Monro’s Born Free, Lulu’s To Sir With Love, Michael Jackson’s Ben and Glenn Campbell’s True Grit.

“There’s an experimental edge to what we’re doing: let’s try this out and give it a go,” Spotify’s music consultant and original content team head Rob Fitzpatrick told Music Ally.

“These are ways of testing out ideas. And AM/PM is an artist-friendly way of doing that without it becoming a thing that turns into a slog for them.”

Spotify’s earlier In Residence programs, also overseen by Fitzgerald, featured names as Steve Jones of the Sex Pistols, rapper Big Narstie, soul collective Jungle and comedian Hannibal Buress.


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