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Why fandom?

We spoke to a variety of people — including fervent artist or independent devotees, everyday music lovers and active members of fan communities — to understand how fans navigate Japan’s unique music scene. We identified Fandom as the single largest opportunity for Premium Growth for the following reasons: 

Widespread demand

● Fandom isn’t a niche interest - it’s deeply ingrained in people’s everyday lives.

● 62% of Japanese consumers with an audio interest are regularly engaging in
fan activities.

High willingness to pay

● Fans’ willingness to pay (WTP) to strengthen their connection with artists is remarkably high.

● Around 90% of participants in our study had one or two artists they passionately support and invest in.


What needs focus? 

Early Insights from the Field

At the outset of the project we didn’t have a clear mission or specific goals for the fandom experience. We interviewed 8 participants in Japan with the goals of understanding the challenges listeners faced in engaging with artists. This research helped develop hypotheses about how to orchestrate fandom on Spotify. 

Data more interesting in Context

Listeners find data stories about things they already know (such as their Top Artist) less interesting. They are interested in diving deeper and ‘getting to know themselves better’.

“It would be good to put this in context. Is 40 listens in a year a lot or not?”  

Recommendations as Reminders

Listeners would like to be reminded about what songs they listen to — or might have forgotten about.

Recommendations also carry a social component — listeners are curious about songs that other fans are listening to.

“Knowing that other people listen to music in another way than me would influence what music I choose to listen to”

Genuine Community 

Listeners who go to concerts often enjoy saving images and seeing exclusive info and pictures — but can only do this on twitter or fan club accounts. It would be nice to have it all in one place.  Listeners who don’t go to concerts have a harder time connecting with fellow fans.

“I don't have the feeling that I am “connecting” with the artists per se through these channels, it’s more like me accessing their info.”

A more frequent cadence of devotion

Listeners want more. Wrapped — which happens once a year — is too infrequent. There is a strong desire to access their ‘fan narrative’ more frequently.


Curating Data Stories 

I quickly realized Fandom isn’t a niche interest — it’s deeply ingrained in people’s everyday. I researched into developing various content types that could be used to form a deeper content catalog and experience anchored in fandom, providing exclusive content beyond but adjacent to our core music experience.

Overall, insights were more interesting when they told a story about the fan’s relationship to the artist, rather than about streaming habits in general. Thus, I focused on ‘data stories’ that visualise specific content.

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