Bookmarked How streaming made hit songs more important than the pop stars who sing them by Charlie Harding (Vox)

Streaming services’ playlists make it easier for listeners to find music worth playing. But experts say they’re also breaking fans’ relationships with artists.

Charlie Harding discusses how the focus with music has moved from the album to the song.

It also presents a paradox of choice: What should you listen to when you can hear nearly any song that’s ever been recorded? With more and more songs released by more and more musicians on more and more platforms — and less emphasis on traditional media to tell listeners what to like — the sprawl of streaming has upended what it means to be a pop star. For an artist like Daniels, streaming both gave him the opportunity to break out from obscurity and made it exponentially more difficult to have a follow-up hit. That’s because like so many other viral hits, the song, not the artist, became the asset.

Where the focus in the past was on radio, nowadays it is on social media platforms and playlists.

Now songs develop on social media platforms, and grow on playlists, before making it to radio. Music marketers have repositioned themselves to build influence over TikTok feeds. PR firms market their ability to get their clients on playlists, though Spotify maintains a stance of editorial independence.

This reminds me of Matthew Ball’s piece on audio innovation. He explains how these days it is about algorithms and the measurement of attention. This has led to a focus on limiting the length of songs.