Spotify has teamed up with musical-knowledge database Genius to produce two new playlists designed to not only showcase the latest in hip-hop, but also provide the lyrics and meaning behind each track. Starting today, you can listen to the Behind the Lyrics (Hip-Hop) playlist, featuring artists Pusha T, Tinashe, and Diplo. The feature is available to all iOS app users (except those with iPhone 4/s devices).
When listening to tracks in the Behind the Lyrics playlist, you will see excerpts of lyrics, fun facts, annotations, and stories provided by the artist and by the Genius community.
While the newest playlist is centered around hip-hop, Spotify says that it’ll launch a playlist focused on popular hits in the coming week.
These special playlists offer participating artists the opportunity to give fans a little behind-the-scenes peek at their creative process. “Spotify and Genius are creating a really cool connection between me and my fans on another level than I normally can connect with them,” said Tinashe. “Not only are they able to hear the music and see the lyrics, but they are also able to understand where I was coming from when I wrote them and kind of get inside my head, which is really cool.”
The release of new playlists comes as the company seeks to better compete against not only against Apple Music, but also Pandora, Slacker Radio, and others. Just this week, Apple announced that it has 10 million subscribers, while Spotify’s last official count put it at 20 million paying subscribers. And with Pandora picking up what was left of Rdio and turning its efforts toward building a streaming music service, the marketplace is getting crowded.
This isn’t the first time Spotify has sought to use lyrics in its music service. The company tapped Musixmatch in February to bring real-time lyrics right to the desktop, in an effort attract users fond of doing karaoke. The difference here is that Genius is showing more than just lyrics for songs, instead digging deeper into the stories behind each one.
Adding Genius to the mix will likely help distinguish Spotify from its competitors, further moving the streaming service in the direction of providing an all-around music experience. The service has already integrated itself into Uber rides and made itself available in Teslas, on Virgin America flights, and on Chromecasts. It also offers specialized playlists and utilizes a recommendation engine to help you discover new music. So why not pass along information to help users better enjoy that content?
The Genius-curated playlists are only available on iOS, and Spotify has not said when they’ll be available for those on other devices.