Yesterday morning, Austin Darbo – a Senior Editor at Spotify and champion of urban music in the UK – took to Twitter to announce that Grime has finally been recognised as a genre onto itself in form of an official category on Spotify. Four playlists can be found underneath the Grime tag, with one being solely dedicated to what’s quite literally the foundation of the genre; the instrumental side of things.
'Grime' is now an official category on Spotify – this will make it easier for fans to find their favourite grime playlists ✅ pic.twitter.com/PeeKgjCduk
— Austin (@AustinDarbo) January 2, 2018
Unobservant onlookers might see this move as a minuet modification, but those involved in the scene from the listeners to the artists are already salivating at its implications. First and foremost you have the added accessibility; simply being able to click onto Spotify – probably the world’s biggest streaming service at 70 million subscribers – and type in ‘Grime’ makes the genre that much easier to find for new audiences, rather than having to sift through the Hip-Hop playlists where Grime tracks tended to be stashed in the past.
The new format will also expose Grime to new fans through music discovery, and playlist placement, which has huge bearings on artists success in the streaming era. The most significant benefit of this categorisation though is that the official UK charts will finally begin to reflect the popularity of a genre the establishment never really accepted. Spotify data is fed directly into the charts. By next year Spotify might be the charts. The numbers cannot be ignored and we expect the numbers to be extremely favourable in the upcoming weeks/months. The 30 second playing rule may still be in effect so who knows whether new fans from far flung lands will switch over before the drop, but you have to deep how far the music of an entire generation, maybe two, has come from being consumed on pirate radio stations, raves, and low bit rate YouTube rips, to having an official coronation on the world stage of music streaming.
2017 was a big year for Grime but it looks like 2018 is set to be even bigger.
Words: Geralda Cela