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The NYU Cinema Research Institute brings together innovators in film and media finance, production, marketing, and distribution to imagine and realize a new future for artist-entrepreneurs. 


Getting Personal

Claire Harlam

"Users tell us they don't know what to listen to, and artists tell us they want to connect more closely with fans" says Daniel Ek, CEO and founder at Spotify. "So we're creating a new and personalised way of finding great music."

Spotify recently introduced a suite of new functions as part of their mission to make music discovery more personal. There are very many, very obvious differences between film and music, differences that make music far more apposite to the constant (social) consumption that Spotify encourages. Still, I think that the creators of online platforms for filmmakers and filmfans should study Spotify and its recently added tools (or at least watch this precious little thang).

The new tools for getting personal are "discover" and "follow" tabs that, in essence, allow Spotify users to curate their curation by choosing which artists', influencers' and friends' recommendations to follow. Unlike platforms I've written about here which do not clearly explain how they will deliver on their promise of filmmaker-fan connection, Spotify recognizes that curation is a key step towards both this connection and towards discovery of new content. As a musician, my connection to a fan is strengthened when he chooses me as a curatorial guide. As a fan, who better to introduce me to new music than the musician who knows that world (and my taste, by virtue of my choosing him) best? By fostering this unique kind of regular interaction between fan and artist, Spotify is both strengthening fan loyalty (for whenever the artist may need it) AND creating a mechanism for discovery.

"From today, music discovery becomes truly personal. It becomes central to the Spotify experience as the service brings artists and fans closer together than ever before."

Yes, music and movies require different modes of consumption and cannot be considered similar for the sake of a business model. But many platforms that are trying to make film discovery truly personal should note how Spotify is marrying personalization with artist-fan connection. Discovery is possible without curation thanks to sophisticated algorithms. But there's nothing personal for artist or fan about connecting with ones and zeroes...

Read more about Spotify's new tools here.