An interview with Boon Ken Wong from Spotify Asia on understanding RADAR and how it will be rolled out in Asia

An interview with Boon Ken Wong from Spotify Asia on understanding RADAR and how it will be rolled out in Asia

With Spotify's RADAR programme, which shines a spotlight on up-and-coming artists from all over the world, music fans have been able to discover a myriad of new sounds and genres as well as unique home-grown talent that may have slipped under their noses previously. The programme, which was launched in March, has been crucial in supporting emerging artists by showcasing their music and deepening their connection with audiences. 

Below, Bandwagon spoke to Boon Ken WongAsia Team Lead, Music Culture & Editorial at Spotify to find out out more about the programme and how it works for new artists.    

We read a quote from Ned Monahan, head of Global Hits, Spotify, that RADAR artists will be “supported based on needs and tailored to local markets”. In the USA, Alaina Castillo got supported with a COLORS show, music video support, playlist cover image etc. What would that look like for markets in Asia? 

In Asia, we’re putting a mix of Spotify’s best-in-class editorial and on/off platform marketing support behind some up-and-coming Asian talents. Across the region, we’ve launched three new RADAR playlists highlighting must-know tracks and bubbling new artists. 


Here’s a quick overview of the playlists:

  • RADAR 新勢力 features the next generation of Mandopop artists paving the way forward. Most recently, we’ve also enlisted the support of some of these artists to take over one of our top Mandopop moods and moments playlist 上班輕聽 and share the music soundtracking their days. Check out this week’s artist feature takeover by electronic pop duo G5SH.
  • RADAR Indonesia: From pop guitar acoustics to punchy rock and roll, the five rising Indonesian creators featured are bringing about an evolution in the local music scene. Some of the debut artists include Mawar De Jongh, Mahen and Monica Karina.

What are the considerations and factors for your selection of RADAR artists?

The selection of RADAR artists is informed by a combination of data and editorial decision making. Even though RADAR is a global program, we heavily consider the nuances, trends and needs of each local music market. With that, we are also looking at the potential of these artists to cross borders, how they are pushing boundaries with their musicality, etc. These are just some of the considerations we look at and these insights alongside data and our understanding of the local music landscape help guide our decisions.

Who decides on the RADAR artists? 

For the Asia RADAR playlists, this is decided by our Asia-based Spotify team of in-house music experts.

How long would this initial batch of RADAR artists be supported for? 

Our commitment to the debut batch of RADAR artists in Asia will be ongoing between six months to a year, sustaining long-term visibility for these talents to establish a strong foothold in the music industry. 

What would success look like?  

Some early success stories from our debut batch of RADAR artists in Asia include Filipino artist August Wahh, whose recent single 'Elated' resonated with listeners on Spotify’s New Music Friday playlist and has since gained traction amongst fans in the United States and Germany. Early streaming data of Taiwanese singer Vicky Chen also shows a growing fanbase in Singapore and Malaysia. 

With RADAR, we hope to continue giving these artists the resources and access to integral marketing opportunities that will take them to the next steps in their careers.

When is Spotify looking at the next batch for RADAR artists?

We hope to continue expanding RADAR across other parts of Southeast Asia and we look forward to sharing more soon. This is just the beginning.

How would a new artist with a song on Spotify go about positioning themselves to be picked up by RADAR? 

We encourage artists (old and new) to explore Spotify For Artists, a dashboard that provides artists and their teams with audience stats and tools to promote their music and manage their profile on Spotify. With Spotify For Artists, artists can pitch an upcoming, unreleased song to our playlist editors. Find out more about pitching your music to playlist editors here. We’re always on the lookout for new tracks and the next big thing.