Spotify's 'Secret Genius' may help smooth things over with songwriters

The company’s had a rough relationship with this side of the music industry.

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Spotify announced the launch of Secret Genius today -- a global, songwriter-focused initiative that will highlight the contributions of those working behind the scenes in the music industry. It's a move that acknowledges members of the music world that Spotify has had a contentious relationship with in the past.

One component of Secret Genius is the Ambassador Program through which over a dozen songwriters will host workshops to create music alongside their peers. Secret Genius will also create playlists that compile the ambassadors' hits and produce podcasts where songwriters will describe how some of their well-known songs were made. And this Fall, Secret Genius will host an award show honoring songwriters, producers and publishers voted on by their music industry colleagues.

Spotify has had a rocky relationship with songwriters and artists. Last month, the company settled a lawsuit over unpaid royalties by setting up a $43.4 million fund to compensate publishers and songwriters who hadn't been properly paid. And earlier this year, Spotify made a similar settlement with the National Music Publishers Association that cost them $21 million.

But it has been trying to make things right. The company recently limited its free streaming option, allowing some artists to release new albums to paying Spotify customers only for the first few weeks. And Spotify purchased the company Mediachain in order to streamline information about the proprietary rights for any given song.

While it's not thrilling to hear that there will soon be another award show to follow, acknowledging the work of writers, producers and publishers is the right thing to do and a good look for Spotify.