John Butler, former Head of Christian music curation at Spotify, was the mastermind behind playlists like Soft Pop Hits, Just Good Music and Top Christian. Prior to joining Spotify, John was VP/Promotion at Curb Records for over a decade. He brings an extensive strategic knowledge of streaming combined with a radio promotion background.
Many have referred to John as the streaming guidance counselor. He says one of his main goals with streaming was to make the artist’s experience the best it could be. He did this by getting their music to the right people so the artist could foster a close relationship with the listener.
“People make judgement calls about music every time they hit play”
With years of experience, John is able to provide a lot of wisdom to up and coming artists. He advises all artists to take the time to figure out who they are because if they have been authentic while building their audience, that audience will probably follow them wherever they go.
John also dives deep into how to use the Spotify playlist submission tool (aka the pitch tool), who listens to the submitted music, and how valuable it is for artists. John does state blatantly that Spotify truly cares about artists, that they actually care too much, and that every tool that has been created is for serving the artists.
“You need an ear and someone who is going to be able to think objectively [about your music]”
With streaming in the bottom half of the third inning, as John says, it’s still relatively new. He believes that the algorithm is eventually going to know what you want before YOU know what you want. Thinking a couple years from now it will be interesting to see the power of streaming and how it has evolved.