Spotify will let artists and labels promote songs in recommendations

As part of a test, they can flag tracks they want to pop up in Radio and Autoplay.

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Spotify logo displayed on a phone screen and Spotify website displayed on a laptop screen are seen in this illustration photo taken in Poland on October 18, 2020. 
 (Photo Illustration by Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
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Spotify will soon test a way for artists and labels to promote songs in your recommendations. They’ll be able to flag music they want to spread the word about to Spotify's algorithms. 

The service suggests artists could use the option to spotlight a new song, an album anniversary or a track that’s going viral. Spotify claims the tool will give artists a greater say in how people discover their music on its platform. You might be more likely to check out the rest of their work if, say, their most radio-friendly song lands in your recommendations instead of a live version of a B-side.

Rather than an upfront fee, labels and artists will pay for the promotions through reduced royalties. They'll need to agree to "a promotional recording royalty rate for streams in personalized listening sessions where we provided this service," according to Spotify. The company says that'll allow artists at every level to promote their music through this option, but it hasn’t confirmed how much lower that royalty rate is.

The feature is subject to Spotify's usual recommendation practices — it’s not giving artists or labels any guarantees about placement. If it doesn't think you'll care about one of these songs, the service won't recommend it to you. If the track performs well (i.e. few people skip it), Spotify will keep prioritizing it. Otherwise, it'll pop up less often.

At the outset, the feature will only be switched on for Radio and Autoplay, which plays more music once you're done with a playlist or album. Spotify says it will gradually test the tool in other personalized features. It's not a stretch to imagine the platform highlighting flagged songs in Discover Weekly or other playlists down the line.

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