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Spotify's Christie Driver-Snell: "I focus on supporting underground music and creating playlists for niche sounds"

We meet Spotify's Editor for Dance and Electronic, Christie Driver-Snell

  • Jasmine Kent-Smith
  • 3 March 2020

Christie Driver-Snell joined the Spotify team just over a year ago, and heads up dance and electronic playlisting across the platform in the UK and Ireland. With a near-lifelong obsession with music discovery, while at university Christie worked at her student radio station (she had her own bass music show) and DJ’d on the side. She became a programmer on the station for
the specialist music slots, which led to a summer internship at London’s Rinse FM which would eventually lead to her becoming Rinse’s Head of Programming, where she worked until moving to Spotify.

Tell us about your role at Spotify.

I joined Spotify to build, diversify and localise the playlist ecosystem across the spectrum of electronic music culture, which of course has so many unique nuances and different scales of audiences in the UK. The aim is to reflect all the exciting emerging scenes growing in club culture and support the artists and tastemakers who are the driving force behind this. My job is about constantly having my ear to the ground and identifying new spaces we can create to support these artists and subgenres so they can grow and connect their audiences both on and off Spotify. A lot of my focus has been on supporting underground music and creating playlists for niche sounds that previously didn’t have a home on Spotify, while also looking beyond genre boundaries to reflect club audiences and communities where genres and sounds intertwine.

Can you remember what it felt like when you found out you’d got the job?

[It was] such a surreal moment! It had been a lengthy interview process and I wanted the job so badly. It was an overwhelming feeling finding out that I’d be able to put the ideas and plans I’d been championing in my interviews into motion, as I’d gone into quite a bit of detail about specific playlists and genres I felt could be represented better on the platform.

Read this next: Laura Lewis-Paul runs Saffron, a label and artist development platform based in Bristol

Talk us through a typical workday...

The majority of my time [is spent] listening to all the music that’s submitted each week so that I can properly dig into the forthcoming releases in all the different genres from techno to industrial, to drum ’n’ bass, club and everything in between. I listen to completely new artists releasing their very first track all the way through to releases from the world’s biggest artists.

I have such a variety of playlists so make sure I have a full picture of what’s coming out each week on the underground to the more commercial side. I spend time meeting with artists, managers and labels and also heading out to gigs during the week. Much of the rest is spent looking ahead to the next step – how we can make more of an impact, where are there content gaps
for a particular mood, genre or party context and how can I make this as engaging as possible.

Last year Spotify launched a new playlist, Altar, with support from Four Tet. Can we expect to see more artists getting involved in the playlisting in this way?

There have been some amazing takeovers from Four Tet, Bonobo and more artists on Altar, to Conducta taking over Inside The Bass and SASASAS curating our Jump Up Drum & Bass playlist. Collaborating with the DJs and artists who are at the forefront of different club scenes is a unique opportunity to reach out to very specific and localised audiences. This is something that will continue, especially around launches of new playlists and as we build Altar as a playlist brand moving into 2020.

Are you able to share any sneak peaks for 2020?

I can’t say too much, but there will always be a focus on unlocking more opportunities for up-and-coming talent, as well looking at building more conceptual playlist brands like Altar. The aim is to consistently reflect new trends that pop up in 2020 as well as the club and festival moments that can move the needle for artists. There will also be a focus on building out the DJ curated playlist ‘All Night’ into 2020, with a more diverse mix of music and DJs represented from both in the UK and beyond. Bringing some of our dance and electronic playlist brands to life is something I’m keen on.

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