Spotify unveils new RADAR global emerging artist program

“We are not sunsetting RISE.”

The pledge from an official Spotify spokesperson to MBW in July last year, regarding the apparent slowdown in activity on the service’s much-trumpeted emerging artist program.

Eight months on, the RISE landing page on Spotify is still not updated. In fact, the last update to the platform – a playlist posted in October 2018 featuring Lil Baby and King Princess – happened a year and four months ago.

The good news, if you’re an on-the-up artist out there, is that Spotify has today (March 9) effectively announced a replacement for RISE (which, remember, it’s definitely not “sunsetting”).

According to a post published in Spotify’s official newsroom today, through the new global emerging-artist program ‘RADAR’, the platform says that it’ll be “deepening [its] commitment to emerging artists at all stages of their development and strengthening their connection to audiences”.

Adds Spotify: “With this global launch, we’ll continue to build on Spotify’s history of working with emerging artists through 19 sister programs featuring up-and-coming creators from more than 50 markets worldwide, all focused on helping artists from around the world reach the next stage in their careers.”

Spotify’s new RADAR program will include a mixture of editorial and marketing support.

Amongst the 36 featured global artists is US artist Alaina Castillo, who Spotify will support via a documentary, inclusion on A COLORS SHOW in partnership with COLORSxSTUDIOS, music video support, in addition to the the inaugural On Our RADAR playlist cover.

She’ll also be releasing a set of Spotify Singles: A rerecording of her own i don’t think i love you anymore featuring a string quartet and a cover of Andrea Bocelli’s Besame Mucho on March 11.

Meanwhile, Spotify UK & Ireland have chosen Nottingham-based rap duo Young T + Bugsey as the first RADAR act from the market.

Young T & Bugsey’s track Strike A Pose featuring Aitch has hit over 62 million streams on Spotify and going platinum. The  rappers appeared as surprise guests at Spotify’s Who We Be Live concert in November 2019.

As part of the RADAR program in the UK and Ireland, support for Young T & Bugsey (pictured) will include the following a full marketing campaign, promotion within Spotify, editorial support, a fan event and “more over the course of the year”.

The full list of artists involved in RADAR at launch is available here.

Spotify’s “history of working with emerging artists” of course includes the aforementioned RISE, spearheaded by former Global Head of Creator Services Troy Carter, and launched in October 2017.

It was described by Carter at the time “as a powerful platform and an investment towards the future of emerging artists and the fans who discovered them first”.

Carter added that Spotify was “putting significant resources” into the RISE program, which, he reiterated to Billboard, aimed to support 16 emerging artists per year, “adding four newcomers every few months”.

Several months after the launch of RISE, Tuma Basa, one of the original architects of the program and the former head of RapCaviar left Spotify to join YouTube.

And then in October 2018, Carter also left Spotify and went on to launch his Los Angeles-based distribution and services company, Q&A, which has since inked deals with Sony/ATV and Warner Music.

As noted by MBW last August, Spotify failed to support a single new artist through RISE since October 2018, when three artists were selected for the program: Atlanta rapper Lil Baby, Japanese-Australian producer Joji, and singer/songwriter King Princess.

“RADAR will become an influential program for up-and-coming artists across all genres worldwide and a great way for our global marketing and editorial teams to support the next generation of international superstars.”

Ned Monahan, Spotify

Ned Monahan, Spotify’s Head of Global Hits, said: “Spotify is thrilled to announce the launch of RADAR this year with an incredible group of emerging artists from across the globe.

“RADAR will become an influential program for up-and-coming artists across all genres worldwide and a great way for our global marketing and editorial teams to support the next generation of international superstars.”Music Business Worldwide

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