Spotify Exec – “Radio is irrelevant”

Staff Writer
Austin Kramer

Austin Kramer is the global head of dance and electronic music at Spotify, and formerly of SiriusXM in the US.

Speaking at Paris electronic week, he has said: “Radio is of the past. It is not relevant. We are getting information (on tracks) 24 hours after their placement (on playlists). Radio can’t do that.”

“Being from radio, it’s sad to say, but that’s really the truth of it. There are certain companies in the US like CBS that say they do look at Spotify. I think it’s just a matter of time before radio either adopts that philosophy and admit they are looking at things like Shazam and Spotify, or they die.”

Kramer went on to talk about how he curates playlists, saying that placing a new song first in the playlist could kill it, saying:

“it gives you higher streams but it also gives you higher skips. You are forcing the listener to make a decision within 30 seconds; that’s not really fair to a new artist”.

Focusing on what he sees as radio’s weakness, Kramer said that he can accelerate a track up a playlist within 24 hours of seeing the response; using Gryffin’s ‘Whole Heart’ as an example of a song that has caught on in the Spotify electroNOW playlist, which has over 3 million followers:

“‘Whole Heart’ was lingering at the 42nd or 43rd slot for the last two weeks and now today, based on last week’s data, it has climbed 25 spots, I have never seen that type of growth before.”

But of course to focus on this aspect of Spotify is to ignore the benefits that radio provides for listeners, which a global music specialist like Spotify is unable to offer. 

What do you think, should radio be worried about the growth and growth of streaming, particuluarly Spotify? Or is Kramer over-stating the influence?

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