SPOTIFY'S RAPCAVIAR TURNED THE PLAYLIST INTO A MOVEMENT, NOW VIVA LATINO IS NEXT

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The playlist is the most powerful medium in music. Streaming music companies spend millions developing algorithms and hiring teams of curators to create them, millions of people tap play on them each day, and some — like Spotify’s Discover Weekly — give you a reason check your phone every Monday morning for a new collection of songs exclusively tailored to your tastes. Even Drake tried to get in on the hype by dubbing his last album a playlist.

At the top of the playlist game is Spotify, which has become a kingmaker with hand-curated playlists such as RapCaviar and Rock This, helping it build out what it deems is the clearest representation of the sonic landscape. Sometimes these playlists shape pop culture, helping to determine what ends up at the top of the Billboard Hot 100, and sometimes they simply reflect it, but with multiple playlists each boasting over 6 million subscribers — a bigger audience than every paid on-demand music service except for Deezer and Apple Music — there’s no disputing that the world’s most popular paid music streaming service has an outsized influence on popular music in 2017.

Now Spotify is in the midsts of redefining the playlist. After months of public testing, Spotify re-launched RapCaviar in August with a new artwork-heavy design, and for the first time it brought videos to the playlist. It’s also given the playlist its own production staff and distinct branding, essentially treating it as its own sub-brand. With editorial content, vertical music videos, a six-city concert tour, and over eight million subscribers, RapCaviar has proven that the playlist can be far more than just a collection of songs updated once a week.

So what’s the next step when you can shape the sounds of a genre? Do it for an entire continent. The next playlist to receive the makeover treatment is Viva Latino, Spotify’s biggest Latin music playlist and the third biggest playlist on the service. Viva Latino will be the first Spotify playlist to incorporate videos in Latin America — one of the company’s biggest markets. (RapCaviar’s videos are currently limited to the US.)

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Viva Latino will launch this week with a new design and new exclusive vertical music videos each day this week from some of the biggest Latin music stars in the world, including, J Balvin, Annita, Luis Fonsi, Daddy Yankee, and Bad Bunny. With a new video production and programming team, new branding, and plans to highlight a different artist with video on a weekly basis, Spotify is attempting to grow Viva Latino into the premier spot not only for Latin music but for video content as well.

The decision to focus on Latin music has allowed Spotify to win much more than the US — it has helped grow streaming music in Latin America at a rate that has exceeded the industry’s expectation. According to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI)’s 2017 global report, music revenue from Latin America grew by 12 percent in 2016 and streaming revenue grew by 57 percent, the highest increase of any region in the world. “We’re looking at the possibility of Brazil and Mexico potentially overtaking the UK and Germany in terms of user numbers," Will Page, Spotify's director of economics said back in April. "That’s not to the detriment of the UK and Germany, it’s all about the unexpected and exceptional performance of Brazil and Mexico.”