×

Spotify Launches ‘Secret Genius’ Program to Celebrate Songwriters (EXCLUSIVE)

Spotify will announce today that it is launching Secret Genius, a global initiative that will highlight the contribution songwriters and producers make to the music industry and artists’ careers. This project will take the form of awards, songwriting camps called Songshops, curated playlists, podcasts and more.

“There is no music business without the song,” Troy Carter, Spotify’s Global Head of Creator Services, told Variety. “The whole idea around Secret Genius is to shine a light on these people behind the scenes who play such a big role in some of the most important moments of our lives. When the general public hears a song they automatically associate it with the artist who sings it, not the people behind the scenes who make it happen, so we thought the title Secret Genius was appropriate.”

Justin Tranter (DNCE, Selena Gomez, Justin Bieber), who will lead a next Songshop later this month with his friend and frequent collaborator Ricky Reed (Twenty One Pilots, Halsey, Meghan Trainor), told Variety: “For me, as a kid desperate to make music, I thought the only way I could do it was to try to be a superstar — which is a fun thing to be but it can be exhausting and degrading. So to have another way to make music that reaches the world is an awesome job for people to aspire to have. Spotify is the first platform to really crack the code of how to create and share and consume music in the digital age, and for the trailblazer of music in the new world to shine a light on songwriters is a really cool and beautiful thing.”

The inaugural Secret Genius Awards, which will honor the top songwriters, producers and publishers in the industry as well as up-and-coming talent, will take place in the fall. The event will consist of nomination categories, presenters and performers.

“We’ll have a more robust announcement around the awards, but it will have a peer-based voting system involving the songwriting community that will select some of the winners,” Carter said. “Songwriters know who the greats are and who the up-and-coming songwriters are. Other awards will be for who had the biggest songs, so some will be subjective and some will be objective.”

The Ambassador Program will see 13 songwriters from around the world host a Songshop where they invite their peers to collaborate to create a hit song. A pilot program was held earlier this year in London and it went “fantastically,” Carter said.

Tranter said of the upcoming Songshop, which will take place in Los Angeles later this month, “Ricky Reed and I have been friends for a long time and we’ve worked on a lot of music together for Kesha and Halsey and others, so we thought we’d combine our resources. It’s awesome that Spotify would sponsor a camp that can bring artists and songwriters and producers together who maybe wouldn’t get the chance to work together for three or four days and seeing what happens.”

Songwriters participating this year are:

  • Alex Hope (Australia) – Troye Sivan, Broods, Wrabel
  • Boi1da (Canada) – Rihanna, Drake, Bryson Tiller
  • Claudia Brant (Latin America)- Natalia Jimenez, Ricky Martin, J. Lo
  • Erika Ender (Latin America) – Luis Fonsi, Justin Bieber
  • James Fauntleroy (US)- Frank Ocean, Bruno Mars, Justin Timberlake
  • J Kash (U.S.) – Maroon 5, Jason Derulo, Charlie Puth
  • Justin Tranter (U.S.) – DNCE, Selena Gomez, Justin Bieber
  • Lori McKenna (U.S.) – Little Big Town, Tim McGraw, Hunter Hayes
  • Noonie Bao (Sweden) – Zedd, Alessia Cara, Charlie XCX
  • Ricky Reed (U.S.) – Twenty One Pilots, Halsey, Meghan Trainor
  • Savan Kotecha (U.S.) – The Weeknd, Ariana Grande, One Direction
  • Starrah (U.S.) – Drake, Rihanna, Halsey, Nicki Minaj
  • Wayne Hector (U.K.) – Nicki Minaj, Little Mix, One Direction

The program will also have Secret Genius Playlists curated to include some of the biggest hits from Ambassadors’ body of work, and podcasts where songwriters tell the stories behind their songs and themselves.

More Music

  • Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters

    Dave Grohl on Dimebag Darrell's Legacy, How Pantera Influenced the Foo Fighters

    Dave Grohl is thisclose to finishing a new Foo Fighters album. “It’s the record that we’ve threatened to make for a long time,” he says. “We’re finally doing something that’s surprising even us.” But on Thursday afternoon, Grohl is 100% focused on late Pantera guitarist Dimebag Darrell Abbott, who is being honored that night at [...]

  • Grammy Awards 60th Annual Grammy Awards,

    Recording Academy Paid Millions Annually to Outside Law Firms

    Among the concerns listed in a memo sent to the Recording Academy’s head of HR by president/CEO Deborah Dugan before she was placed on administrative leave Thursday was an item about the organization’s “exorbitant and unnecessary” legal fees to outside law firms, according to sources familiar with the document. According to the most recent 990 [...]

  • Bob Mould

    Bob Mould Showcases Catalog, Ejects Right Wing Heckler at Tour Opener

    Bob Mould kicked off a somewhat unusual solo electric tour at the Narrows Center for the Arts in Fall River, Mass. last night, with a 75-minute set that drew evenly from across his four decade career. Mould may have embraced a sunnier perspective since moving to Berlin three years ago — as evidenced by his [...]

  • Naaz

    Italy's Meduza, Dutch singer Naaz Among Winners at Music Moves Europe Talent Awards

    Italian electronic producers Meduza, Norway’s Girl In Red, and Dutch singer Naaz (pictured) were among the winners at the second annual Music Moves Europe Talent Awards, which took place Friday, Jan. 17 in the Netherlands. The honor, formerly known as the European Border Breakers Award (EBBA), went to eight artists in total, as well as [...]

  • Gregg Smith, Dancer and Choreographer Assistant,

    Gregg Smith, Dancer and Choreographer Assistant, Dies at 73

    Gregg Smith, a dancer, casting director and assistant choreographer who had a long association with director Kenny Ortega, has died. He was 73. Smith died on Jan. 1. The industry veteran worked as a performer in the national touring company of the musical “Hair” and in a Los Angeles production of “Jesus Christ Superstar.” He [...]

  • Eminem "Music to Be Murdered By"

    Eminem's 'Music to Be Murdered By': Album Review

    Eminem’s surprise album release may bear the Hitchcock-referencing title “Music to Be Murdered By,” but, yes, as you’d expect, “Music to Murder To” might be a more apt description. The 20-track LP, his tenth since soundtracking the turn of the millennium with 1999’s “The Slim Shady LP,” finds the Detroit rap legend in an alternately rancorous [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content