Spotify Adds A Passel of Discovery Tools & Rdio-Like Following [LIVE BLOG]

Posted December 6

Spotify is holding a press conference in New York City today to announce what’s next for the music subscription service. What will Spotify reveal? Keep it here for live updates starting at 12 noon EST!

12:02: Inspirational video time! On screens on all sides of the room.

Daniel Ek is coming out. “Life is made of moments — little moments and big moments — and they’re all connected to music.”

Getting a little history of Spotify — finding a way to make music available and legal, social and interactive.

Time for the 2012 recap.

Ek says Spotify thinks of themselves as “punks” against the establishment. The Clash. The Ramones. Early rap. [audience laughs]

“We’re punk, in a positive way,” Ek. “We want to build something that helps artists in the long term.”

12:05: Number Time!

* Spotify has over one billion playlists
* 4.5 million playlists called “Love”
* 5 million paying customers
* 20 million active users
* U.S. has ONE MILLION paid subscribers — biggest subscription service and fastest-growing

“Our mission is to bring all the music to every person on the face of the planet,” Ek.

Artist payment debate time! (Of course referring to the Internet Radio Fairness Act.)

Spotify has paid more than half a billion dollars (the number has more than doubled in the last nine months) to artists.

80% of Spotify’s music has been streamed — as opposed to 80% in online download stores staying dormant. So, people tend to stream music more than they buy it.

Spotify can also break a new album without cannibalizing sales, Ek says.

Ek intros Daniel Glass, Glassnote Entertainment Group, and Michael Hogan from the Huffington Post, to talk about Mumford & Sons’ success on Spotify (and in general).

12:12: Mumford Time

Glass: “We are thrilled to be part of the Spotify experience.”

“[Spotify] did not cannibalize sales at all.” (referring to the Mumford album, Babel)

Apparently, people still bought the album, even though it was streaming on Spotify. “People want that analogue, tactile experience,” says Glass.

Hogan is asking about revenue from Spotify itself.

“You have to play in the marathon game — the long run in artist development,” says Glass, implying that revenue will increase over the years.

With baby bands, you need Spotify to garner exposure.

12:17: Ek is back

“Spotify is still at the beginning of its journey,” he says.

What’s next time!

Ek is defining the problem they hope to solve. Users are telling them that Spotify is great when you know what you want to listen to, but not when you’re looking to discover. 10,000-20,000 songs are added every day, so that’s a lot to wade through.

How can Spotify help artists get heard? And help fans find tunes?

Looks like this announcement will be about discovery.

The problem with music discovery is that you’re usually looking at cover art, not listening to tunes.

New Discover Tab is revealed on Spotify’s new Web app. It will surface recommendations based on your listening profile. Recommendations come with context, not just cover art. IE, “You might like this because you like this.”

Spotify also makes recommendations for tunes you might have liked when you were younger based on who you are — using all the info it has about you.

It looks like it also pulls in content from Spotify apps, like Pitchfork, Songkick, etc. (Nice!)

You don’t have to add songs to playlists anymore now. You can add tunes to your Collection — a store of your music. It shows music that you’ve saved that you haven’t listend to yet. Related tunes will also show up under “Now Playing,” and you can save those to your Collection to listen to later.

The whole deal is meant to replicate the experience of a friend suggesting tunes — easy to digest suggestions with context.

The whole “saving for later” thing is cool. Now, you don’t have to jump from song to song, you can store up suggestions for later.

Audio Preview: Now you can get a quick taste of a song without interrupting your current listening session. You can go right back when you’re done! ADD central.

12:29: Social integration time

It’s hard to find people who can recommend good tunes. Yeah, you have your friends on Facebook, but it’s not enough.

Enter, The Music Graph: A group of people who share your musical tastes — not just culled from your friends.

Spotify is adding a new “Follow” section. Now, you can follow anyone in the music graph. Yup, they’re cribbing on Rdio here. Now, you can follow bands, publications, etc. Now, their music stories will appear in your discovery feed.

Now artists and fans can have an even closer connection.

Now, users can share music just to their Spotify followers. Wow, Spotify is becoming a social network now! Watch out… everyone else.

You can listen to tunes that your favorite artists are listening to. This could be a great way for artists to pump baby bands that they’re into — similar to when Grizzly Bear helped break Neon Indian on Twitter.

Push Notifications: Now, artists will deliver their new music to people who follow to them — direct to their mobile phone. This is awesome. No more forgetting that your favorite band has a new album out!

Tons of bands are already using the service.

More inspirational videos.

12:38: Sean Parker introduced along with Lars Ulrich from Metallica! What the HELL?! All of their music will be on Spotify!

“I felt like our position had always been misunderstood…. Metallica’s position had been misunderstood as well…. Back in ’99, 2000, we were depicted as these greedy pirates that were trying to create a free-for-all…. We just wanted to make music more free as in freedom, not free as in theft,” Parker says.

“From the very beginning we wanted to build a licensed, legitimate music service,” he says.

Ulrich says Metallica has always been pro-bootlegging and tape-trading.

Ek says Spotify is like “tape trading on crack.”

Metallica has taken control of their whole catalogue and started their own record company, Blackened Recordings. This event coincided within a week of that. That’s why they’re doing it now.

Ulrich says that bands who don’t have their music on Spotify don’t have kids. You want the younger generation to be able to have access to your music.

Back in the day when Metallica sued Napster, it wasn’t about money, it was about control. They wanted control of their music and their property.

Ulrich on Spotify: “I was stunned by the ease of it. It’s easy and user-friendly. It’s set up for the fans.”

Frank Ocean is now playing. This event is insane.

Image courtesy of Flickr, schizoform