Spotify launched its ‘Artist Fundraising Pick’ feature in mid-April, enabling artists to raise money from their Spotify profiles either for themselves and their teams, or for one of the charitable funds and organisations taking part in the streaming service’s Covid-19 Music Relief project. By the end of that month, around 50,000 artists were using the new feature.
One of the questions around this, however, is how many listeners will have noticed. If you don’t visit an artist’s Spotify profile, you won’t see their fundraising pick – we’ve always had a similar question about the extent to which artists’ merchandise and ticket sales have been surfaced to fans on Spotify, with those features largely confined to profiles except when artists partner with Spotify to send out ‘Fans First’ email offers.
Today, though, Spotify is bringing a dash of Fans First to its Artist Fundraising Picks. The service will be sending out personalised emails to promote the initiative. “We’ve been inspired by music fans around the world who are supporting their favorite artists during this time, so we decided to share a personalized list of artists you listen to who have added a Fundraising Pick to their profile,” explains the email. Fans can then click through to the various fundraising destinations chosen by the artists.
A small thing? Perhaps, but it takes Spotify’s nascent fan-funding initiative out of profiles and into listeners’ inboxes, which could be a big awareness boost. It might address some of the criticism from some artists that donations through the feature have been “sporadic”, if not some of the other brickbats about it being a sticking plaster for the bigger challenges of artist streaming royalties.
Today’s personalised emails at least indicate that the fundraising feature is evolving, and that there’s the internal will at Spotify to push it out more widely. We’d still love to see the company – and streaming services more generally – add meaningful integrations with platforms like Bandcamp and Patreon. Streaming could and should be an even better engine for driving fans’ willingness to directly support the artists they love, so every step forward in that sense is a positive one.