Spotify Doesn't Make Artists Enough Money, But Maybe Your Listening Data Will

New “Fan Insights” dashboard will tell artists more about their fans.

Nov 17 2015, 9:09pm

Image: H4g2/Flickr

Spotify is trying to make nice with bands and artists by offering them free data on who their listeners are.

Spotify announced today that it's launching a new feature for artists called "Fan Insights," where artists and their managers will be able to access a dashboard offering demographics on the listener base, as well as how their fan base is listening, where they're tuning in from, what other artists they like, and more. Spotify even promises to sort passionate fans from casual listeners, so each group's habits can be observed separately.

Image: Spotify

The data is anonymous, of course, and the company told Motherboard in an email that you can opt of being included if you feel weird about it: "If users don't want their playlists to appear in Fan Insights, they can choose to make those playlists private."

Since Spotify is not charging artists for access to Fan Insights, it seems to be an olive branch offered to an industry that has previously taken umbrage at Spotify. A recent study showed that while Spotify isn't really hurting the music industry (in part because it helps reduce piracy), it's not really helping, either. The study was based on just a few years of data, but drew the conclusion that the net effect of Spotify on the recording industry was basically zero.

That's not good enough for artists like Taylor Swift, who made headlines when she pulled her catalog from the streaming service. But maybe the offer of free data can help make up for it.