Local artists reach global audience with Spotify
Local artists finding their groove on Spotify
Even before releasing her debut album later this month, singer-songwriter Sam Rui, 20, has already made a splash on the local music scene.
She credits much of her success to the music streaming service Spotify, which she joined as an artist last year.
Late last year, her single Better became one of the most shared and trending tracks on Spotify among listeners here.
She also performed at the Laneway Singapore festival this year, alongside acclaimed indie artists like American electronic/post-rock act Tycho.
Rui, who has received messages from fans in Spain and the US, told The New Paper: "Even before I got in contact with (Spotify) in person, the platform really helped me get a reach for my music that I never thought possible."
"In the last five years or so, there is sustained growth of a new generation of artists developing," said Mr Tan Chee Meng, the director of labels & artists for Spotify (Asia-Pacific), citing the likes of Gentle Bones, Charlie Lim and The Sam Willows, who are all verified artists on the platform. "Artists in Singapore are finally finding that confidence to truly believe in what they can do."
Like other artists, Rui had to get her songs licensed, a requirement by Spotify. This can be done either through a record label or a digital music distributor.
She follows in the footsteps of local singer-songwriter Linying, who made her international debut last year, landing in Spotify's American and global Viral 50 chart.
Spotify's Viral charts takes into account both streams and the number of times listeners share the song.
Set up in 2008 at a time of changing music consumption habits, the Stockholm-based platform has emerged as a leader among music streaming services, with more than 100 million users worldwide.
One of its most popular features, the Discover Weekly playlist, helps users to discover new music.
According to Spotify, more than 40 million people use the feature, streaming at least five billion tracks since its launch, making it an "important way for artists to grow their fan base".
For homegrown musicians like Rui, this means it is possible to build a fan base that transcends geographical boundaries. Or, in the words of Mr Tan: "The world is our playground."
Linying is now with major recording company Universal Music Singapore and Nettwerk Music Group, which officially handles all her releases in North and South America.
Mr Tan said: "Linying is one of those true success stories of how we move music around the world, and how we actually enable creators to find a new audience, not just in the region."
While the platform has helped homegrown artists make waves overseas, its business model has been mired in controversy. Musicians like Taylor Swift and Radiohead's Thom Yorke have spoken out against low payouts.
In 2013, Spotify revealed that the average song generates between US$0.006 and $0.0084 per stream in royalties.
Revenue from Spotify is distributed to record labels, which then pay artists, said Mr Tan.
Pointing to Spotify's marketing platform, he said the relationship musicians have with Spotify is not just a commercial one.
"Think about the 100 million users they can reach out to... Never in history do you have a single platform that has that kind of reach."
Rui said it's "extremely humbling" to work with the Spotify team.
She said: "You can tell the people at Spotify do what they do for the love of the music and for the altruistic goal of wanting to see the local music scene grow."