Data by the Ocean: A Conversation with Spotify and DNCE’s Joe Jonas

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Whether or not you have heard of DNCE, you have certainly heard DNCE. This year, their debut single “Cake by the Ocean” took the world by storm, earning a RIAA 2x Platinum certification and helping the pop rock band win a MTV Best New Artist Video Music Award. Spotify’s Global Head of Artist Services, Mark Williamson, sat down with DNCE’s Joe Jonas to discuss how data influences artists and managers to create tracks and albums, connect with fans and even tailor performances to certain crowds.

Last November, DNCE released their 4 track debut EP SWAAY,(apparently where the A from DANCE went), to incredible results. Jonas says that they had a full LP ready but wanted to test the waters and see what sounds attracted an audience. From the poppy “Toothbrush” to the slower “Jinx,” DNCE tried to create unique songs that varied in appeal to different large audiences. With Spotify and radio play, “Cake by the Ocean” found that audience.

After its debut, “Cake” was added to several of Spotify’s automated and curated playlists including “Today’s Top Hits.” To date, over two million listeners have discovered “Cake by the Ocean” through the “Today’s Top Hits” playlist alone. Joe, of Jonas Brothers and Camp Rock fame, says that his star power did not even lead to the song’s gigantic response. Many listeners found the song on their Discovery Weekly playlists (Spotify’s personal automated playlist system) before they knew that he was in the band. Even I, a self-proclaimed music guru, only learned that Jonas was in DNCE earlier this week.

Growing up with The Jonas Brothers, Joe saw the transition from physical album sales to streaming first-hand. From relying to in-store appearances to streaming was scary because, as Jonas puts it, “you had no idea where the industry was heading.” Streaming music platforms like Spotify, in addition to social media applications, have helped make this shit of the music industry easier for artists like Jonas.

From the “About the Artist” tab on Spotify to Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, Jonas finds ways to connect with fans. Even back when The Jonas Brothers reached 100 followers on Myspace, Jonas stressed social media as a way to bridge the gap between fan and artist. And he’s the one running it all. Unlike other celebrities, Jonas believes that it’s incredibly important to be completely genuine on social media and only endorse products and promote ads that are comfortable to the artist and their fans from Uber to Spotify.

Getting Down with the Data

Since debuting their single “Cake by the Ocean” last September, DNCE has gained a significant following. On the Spotify platform alone, as of September 2016, the band has obtained…

  • 15 million monthly listeners (that ranks DNCE as 42nd in the world for most listened artists)
  • 418+ million streams of “Cake by the Ocean”
  • 500+ million total song streams
  • 330,000+ followers
  • 400,000+ listeners in Mexico City alone
  • Songs in over 50 million unique playlists (from Spotify’s “Today’s Top Hits” to my personal party playlist)

DNCE’s new single “Body Moves” drops this Friday and you can expect their self-titled debut album to release November 18th.

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