Spotify recently added a new selection of apps to its platform. We have already looked at five of the best, including Classify and Tweetvine, but here are another five worth exploring in order to get the most out of the music streaming service from Sweden.
What the following five Spotify apps all have in common is that they’re run by and for specific record labels. Which is a notable change in strategy. The record labels have struggled to come to terms with the changes inflicted on their business model by the Internet, and yet here they are actively promoting their artists on a service which will be directly eating into sales of albums. The times they are a-changin’, as Dylan once sang.
Def Jam Recordings has only been in existence since 1984, but in that time it has helped shape the changing face of music by signing and promoting some of the most-influential rap and urban music acts. We’re talking Public Enemy, the Beastie Boys, Jay-Z, Public Enemy, Kanye West, and Rihanna, amongst others.
The app is very simple, comprising of ‘Playlists’ and ‘Releases’. ‘Playlists’ are playlists of tracks built around a central theme, such as eras in Def Jam’s history or specific artists and those influenced by them. ‘Releases’ are full albums released on the label, including recent fayre such as Rihanna’s Talk That Talk, and older fayre such as Jay-Z’s The Black Album.
The Def Jam app is for those who love Hip-Hop and R’n’B, and love the legacy of this infamous record label.
Domino Recording Company is due to celebrate its 20th anniversary next year, having been founded as recently as 1993. The label’s artists won’t be known to everyone, with the most-revered acts being the Arctic Monkeys, Franz Ferdinand, and The Kills.
The app features a wide range of content from the label, both past and present. We get full albums such as Sweet Heart Sweet Light from Spiritualized, direct links to artist profiles for bands such as Hot Chip and She & Him, and playlists including ‘Welcome To Domino‘, an introduction to a label which will have passed some people by.
The Domino app is for those with a passion for indie music, and those who want to hear new music from bands who may never quite hit the mainstream.
Matador Records was founded by one man in his New York apartment in 1989. Since then it has managed and promoted some of the best indie rock bands ever to grace the airwaves, including Interpol, Sonic Youth, and Modest Mouse.
The app is laid out very simply, displaying ‘All Releases’ by year, and ‘Tour Dates’ for all its currently signed acts. The homepage features ‘New & Upcoming Releases’, which is a tiled list of the albums recently released or about to be released. Playing albums by the year of release shows the progression of indie music over the past 20-some years. Which I personally found a fascinating journey.
The Matador app is for those who like music that speaks to them on an individual level without being dull or predictable.
PIAS Recordings is another independent record label originating in the U.K. The name derives from Play It Again Sam, a misquotation from Casablanca. Over the years [PIAS] has been home to the likes of Soulwax, Sigur Rós, and Mogwai. Its current roster included Editors and I Am Kloot.
The app comprises ‘New Releases’: albums from current artists such as Accept and The Black Seeds, ‘Artist & Label Playlists’: playlists compiled around a particular artist or even by a particular artist, and ‘Features’: playlists built around themes, such as ‘New For 2012‘.
The [PIAS] app is for those who like alternative music with a British bias.
The Warner Sound
Warner Music Group is the third-largest of the four major record labels, and the only one to appear on this list. Being a major record label means the range and popularity of artists it has on its books is vast. Current artists include Green Day, Metallica, Muse, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
The app is made up of several sections all built around playlists. With so many artists to choose from the playlists on The Warner Sound are diverse in nature, with The Mars Volta butting up uncomfortably with Davy Jones. The ‘Family Tree’ playlists offer artists who influenced and were influenced by current artists, while there are also some built around sub-genres such as ‘Power Pop’.
The Warner Sound app is for those who like mainstream music from the last 50 years or more.
Make no mistake about it, the music industry is still in a state of flux and having to adapt to changes in the way we consume music. Spotify and other on-demand, streaming services offer a positive middle ground: music lovers get to listen to music whenever and wherever they want to, but the labels and artists all get paid. Perhaps not handsomely, but paid nonetheless.
What do you think of Spotify and its growing selection of apps? Do you think it’s a good thing that (most of) the record labels are slowly but surely waking up to the reality they find themselves in? How has your music consumption changed as a result of the Internet? Please feel free to let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.