Earlier this year, Snapchat shuttered its own original content division. In its place, the platform opened Story Explorer, a new feature that allows users to dig deeper into a particular aspect of a Live Story. This weekend, however, Snapchat pushed some new original content on Discover, hopping on the year-end music bandwagon. This Year in R&B features a mix of recommendations, articles, and Spotify advertisements.
This Year in R&B is not a significant deviation from Snapchat’s choice to end original content. It will continue for a week of genre recommendations, but there are no plans to continue the music channel longterm, Advertising Age reports. Nevertheless, the timing could not be better. Snapchat, as a music platform, has been in the news more than usual lately because of a New York Times article on one of the app’s greatest brand ambassadors: DJ Khaled (whom you can follow at @djkhaled305). With his (maybe) unofficial cosign, users know that Snapchat can be used as more than a silly-photo-sender.
This Year in R&B aims to introduce listeners to lesser known artists, thereby boosting Snapchat’s cred as a valuable music source. For example, the top track that Snapchat recommends is Towkio’s “Heaven Only Knows,” a Chance the Rapper-featuring track from his self-released mixtape .Wav Theory.
Snapchat is obviously making money from the year-end Discover channel — the Spotify plugs literally say “ad” on them. Beyond profit, though, it’s an opportunity for Snapchat showcase itself. Its original Snapchat TV show idea, Literally Can’t Even, was a flop, but maybe there is a future in promoting others’ creations as their own. It’s not crazy to suggest that Snapchat could soon premiere or tease new music releases. I’m sure they’d have a willing participant in DJ Khaled.
So Snapchat’s hypothetically temporary music channel helps boost the brand in a new direction. There are more credible places to get news and sports and even music. But if Snapchat can take small steps toward proving that it’s a viable platform for the latter, then new windows open.