Spotify brings “Behind the Lyrics” to Android

Over a year ago, Spotify inked a deal with music annotation startup Genius to provide the backstory to the songs you’re streaming through a feature called Behind the Lyrics, which pops up additional commentary as you’re listening to tracks on the service. Today, the company says the feature is finally making its way over to Android, where it will initially be available across a small handful of playlists.

Android users worldwide will be able to see the Behind the Lyrics commentary on Spotify’s own curated playlists, Behind the Lyrics: Hip Hop and Today’s Top Hits. When you’re listening to songs on these playlists, the tracks will pop up lyrical excerpts, fun facts and stories from the artists themselves, says Spotify in an announcement about the feature’s launch.

In addition, Khalid is offering Behind the Lyrics on every track on his new album American Teen.

These annotations play automatically, and make the process of listening to music more engaging. It’s a bit like the modern-day take on reading the liner notes. Instead of flipping through pages of text and printed photos, however, you’re meant to pay attention to your phone’s screen as the music plays. For Spotify, this has the advantage of keeping users in its app – an app most people today use in the background while they do other things.

This increased time spent in app means the company has a better shot at introducing its other content to its active listeners, including its videos, podcasts, clips, and original programming, as well as pointing you to nearby concerts or artist merchandise.

The Behind the Lyrics feature is now one of many ways artists can connect with their fans on Spotify – an area where iTunes, and its attempt at social networking called Connect – largely failed.

Earlier this month, Spotify launched its artist dashboard, which now lets artists not only track their streaming numbers, but also configure their profiles. This includes picking their own photo, selecting favorite tracks and playlists – even those from fellow artists. With Behind the Lyrics, the artists have another means of reaching their audience and telling their stories, while music listeners get an upgraded feature that’s not available on rival services like Apple Music.

However, for this to really be successful, Spotify and Genius need to work together to open the annotation platform so any artist can create their own “Behind the Lyrics”-powered track on the site, then immediately have it go live on Spotify.

Spotify says the Behind the Lyrics feature is seen by “millions” of iPhone users daily. With the expansion to Android, those numbers will soon grow.