Country music may have gotten its start in Nashville, TN, but it has since expanded far beyond. For some time, country music fans around the world have been looking for a way to help them connect to the artists they love, discover new music, and share their love of the Country genre. With Spotify’s Hot Country Playlist—now enhanced with video—they may just find it.
Enhanced playlists, like the previously launched Rap Caviar and ¡Viva Latino!, combine music and video into a single view. This allows users to listen to their favorite audio tracks as well as watch interviews and music videos featuring their favorite artists. Enhanced playlists bring storytelling back to music discovery—a theme that country music emphasizes as well.
After enjoying the constantly refreshing playlist throughout the week, listeners can tune in every Friday to experience new and original country video interviews with an all-new Hot Country look and feel. First up: Grammy Award winner Keith Urban, who takes the wheel today with a feature cover story that coincides with the release of his new album, Graffiti U. On Hot Country, Keith gives viewers a behind-the-scenes look at his extensive guitar collection, discusses his love of playing in his new home studio, and dives into the inspiration behind his new album.
While reflecting on the Hot Country playlist, Keith Urban said; “Spotify has been an amazing partner, helping me to connect my music with people all over the planet. On their new Hot Country playlist people will not only hear Graffiti U, they’ll be able to come inside the studio with me and see a bit about the making of the album. Can’t wait for everyone to hear it.”
According to Brittany Schaffer, Head of Artist and Label Marketing at Spotify’s Nashville office, the country music audience has been slower to adopt streaming than audiences of other genres. But, “country artists have been craving the attention of the streaming services to help bring the country audience into streaming and craving a deeper ability to connect with and expand their audiences,” she says. “The enhancement of the Hot Country playlist is Spotify’s first significant step in helping artists do just that.”
Schaffer also notes that the enhanced playlist is only the beginning of Spotify’s collaboration with the country industry. “Spotify is serious about making an impact in country music, and the launch of the Hot Country enhanced playlist is only the first step in showing that commitment,” she says. “This opportunity is opening new doors for current and potential listeners of country music, in Nashville and around the world. Our commitment doesn’t start and end with the launch of Hot Country.”
Through Hot Country and upcoming Spotify partnerships, fans can look forward to behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with their favorite country artists such as Keith Urban, Kacey Musgraves, and Kenny Chesney. From a tour of Keith Urban’s new state-of-the-art home recording studio in Nashville and the making of Kenny Chesney’s stadium tour to video footage from Kacey Musgraves’ Fan-First high tea in London or Justin Timberlake x Chris Stapleton’s Spotify Premium event recording of “Say Something” at the Roundhouse in London, Spotify is dedicated to telling the stories of country’s biggest names.
To bring more Hot Country to its more than 4.5 million followers worldwide, the enhanced playlist feature will also launch in four additional markets outside the U.S.: Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and Spain (in addition to the UK, Sweden, and Latin America). According to John Marks, Programming Head of Country Music at Spotify, the audience for country music will only keep growing. “There are multiple awakenings happening right now. Streaming is opening a global market. There’s been a hybridizing of other international music into the country playlists, which is opening people’s eyes and minds to country music in other countries. Launching in those markets—which have very active fan bases—will start to speed up the process.”
Marks, who has a long history working in Nashville with country industry and artists, is enthusiastic about the partnership—and he’s not the only one, he says. “The Nashville music industry and Nashville artists have really embraced this idea out of the shoot. We have some big stars on board with Keith Urban and Kenny Chesney, and there are plenty others on queue. It’s really been gratifying to see how quickly and how nimbly everyone in the industry has supported this idea of enhanced playlists and to see it all come together.”
Check out the new Hot Country playlist here.