It's been a few weeks since the Spotify /Genius "Behind the Lyrics" collaboration was unveiled so after the initial hype had calmed I was looking forward to testing out the latest offering from the Swedish sophisticates of streaming.
With the impending threat of a 200m lawsuit looming and despite braggadocios statement's from their main competitor's of 10 million active users, the smart people at Spotify appear unfazed from outside looking in. Well why should they be? New reports suggest Spotify are progressively gnawing away at they're freemium users announcing an increase to 25-30m paying subscribers. Key acquisitions have recently been tied up whilst they're steady cracking on with innovative ways to enhance the user experience and convince the tens of millions of non-paying subscribers to cough up £9.99 a month. It still remains the biggest challenge that they are admirably attacking head on and delivering features their loyal fan base are more than satisfied with.
The partnership with Genius is also an intriguing prospect with the evident gearshift by the hiring of music journalist Rob Markman (formerly of MTV) as Manager of Artist relations. Notable collaborations have opened up that may not have been possible before, example being the huge partnership with Eminem and Shady Records.
In addition to a raft of new playlists there is the “Behind the Lyrics” feature. At first I couldn't find the feature, in fact embarrassingly I got to the last track of the album "Sunshine" before I was pleasantly surprised by the 'behind the lyrics' tag peering over the top of the album artwork. The designers to ensured the Spotify UX was not compromised and in this particular case the smooth revealing of the lyric breakdown reflected the silky delivery of intricate subject matter's in Pusha's lyrics. If you want you can learn something new whilst getting turnt. It reminded me that the statute of Liberty was a black woman gifted by France to the United States to recognise the significance of black soldiers in winning the civil war amongst other things.
Without lyrics there's a lack of knowledge and knowledge being the fifth element makes this new feature all the more pertinent for hip-hop (well it should anyway). Genius’ communities of contributors are able to provide explanations in addition to help from the artist by expounding on their lyrics and quotes related to the lyrics as the song plays out.
Both features serve to make the Spotify experience all-encompassing, a smorgasbord of useful features for the invested music fan. For me, the Genius feature has potential to be a stayer but will need the artists to invest time to provide meaningful contributions that add value for the listener. Time will tell whether they have a diluting effect or if collaboration creates new converts but for Spotify and Genius, it’s the beginning of a positive creative relationship.