As Snap competes for new users and partners, the company is winning big fans among music industry insiders who embrace the social media service’s potential to help artists connect with fans.
Speaking this year at the annual Midem Music Conference in Cannes, Snap vice president Ben Schwerin discussed the company’s emerging music strategy during a keynote presentation with Neil Jacobson, president of Geffen Records. Schwerin said that after watching artists use the service to talk to fans, the company is now working more closely with record companies to help musicians use Snap’s augmented reality Lenses to spread the word about new music.
“If we can highlight a couple of songs every week and make them available to our users, then we can really make an impact,” Schwerin said.
It’s not clear how Snap may be benefitting financially from the arrangements, other than driving more usage and gaining additional advertising. But on the artist side, Jacobson raved about Snap’s ability to motivate fans to buy tickets and music and become ambassadors for a band by spreading the word.
“I look at Snap in a lot of the ways I’d look at MTV,” he said. “Snap feels the same as MTV did in the ’90s. It’s a young demographic, and being able to get to a user base like Snap’s, where it understands that under-25 demographic … is really special.”
Later, Jacobson added: “Every time we collaborate, I see a track explode.”
Celebrities of all stripes have been using Snap to deliver messages to fans, often adorned with the service’s signature Lenses. Late last year, Snap launched Lens Studio to allow developers to create their own AR Lenses.
Jacobson said that’s been a powerful tool for some of Geffen’s artists. Basically, an artist can create a special Lens for a song and then publish it. As users see the clip with the Lens, they gain access to the same Lens and music, which they can in turn use to make their own clip. That Lens then gets spread to all their friends.
Because the clips are short, with just bits of the song, users sometimes turn to Shazam to get more details about the song and the artist. Jacobson gave the example of an India-based artist who released a Lens and within a few days was at the top of Shazam lists around the world.
At the keynote, Jacobson showed a new Lens created by a British singer named Yungblud for a song called “Psychotic Kids.” The singer sketched some ideas, which a few Geffen employees turned into a Lens for the song.
— Stuart Dredge (@stuartdredge) June 6, 2018
In general, Jacobson was quite bullish about AR for music. By the same measure, Schwerin said Snap is eager to go deeper into music in the coming months.
“We’d like to have music be an even bigger part of the app,” Schwerin said. “Broadly, we want to continue to build stronger relationships with rights holders, and we want to see how music evolves on Snapchat.”