A song can take many forms and meanings, depending on who’s listening to it and at which point in their lives they are. We all have our interpretations, but I’m always curious to know what the artist’s inspiration was, to get a better feel for where they were coming from. That’s why I often find myself reading Spotify’s Behind the Lyricscards whenever I come across them. But the music streaming service seems to be adding its in-house spin that doesn’t rely on third-party service Genius, by providing artists with a new Storyline feature.
For users, Storyline cards show up below the Now Playing screen (you need to pull up if you see a card peeking from the bottom), and the few that I found appear below Genius’s Behind the Lyrics cards. They present as an Instagram-like UI for stories, with artists able to pick one or multiple images, type text, and highlight the parts they want. You tap on the right side of the card to move to the next part of the story, or on the left side to move back to the previous one.
The cards are live for me in Spotify v22.214.171.1243, though they may have rolled out in earlier versions too. I was able to find them under Jonas Brothers’ Sucker and several songs by Billie Eilish (bad guy, bury a friend, when the party’s over, wish you were gay).
So far, only a few artists/songs appear to be using these Storyline cards, a lot less than the songs that support Behind the Lyrics. It’s not clear if Spotify wants to completely terminate its Genius collaboration and replace those cards with its own, or if it sees Storyline as a complementary feature with less focus on the lyrics and more interest in the artist’s perspective, giving them the freedom to tell their own tale behind a song.