Sweet, the first Snapchat-only media brand that is a joint venture between Snap Inc. and Hearst, is debuting its first annual music issue on Sunday, with an exclusive cover shoot and profile of Danish singer-songwriter MØ.
Sweet’s Oct. 16 issue on Snapchat Discover will include an interview feature on MØ, who was shot by photographer and GIF animator Alex Thebez. The channel will employ GIFs, video, and conversational elements throughout the entire issue, as well as shareable Spotify playlists that users can snap and share with friends.
In the special edition, Sweet editors will share a song that changed their lives and ask readers to snap back a response. Other elements include a feature called “Birthday Song” in which How to Dress Well (singer Tom Krell) sings 10 seconds of a song from the year he was born; a video feature with electronic-dance music artist Flume; a history of EDM; and a roundup of the best Bluetooth headphones and speakers.
“Music has been an important area we have covered at Sweet,” said Sweet GM Ross Clark. “We wanted to do something bigger and fun that took advantage of all the components of the platform.”
Sweet positions itself as a next-generation tastemaker brand, aiming primarily at a female audience with beauty, style, entertainment, culture, music, tech and design content that lives for 24 hours on Snapchat Discover — and then disappears forever. Sweet is majority-owned by Hearst.
Since launching on Snapchat Discover in November 2015, Sweet has grown to reach 15 million globally unique users on a monthly basis, one-third of whom come from the U.S., according to Clark. Sweet has more than 1 million visitors daily.
Electropop artist MØ, whose full name is Karen Marie Aagaard Ørsted Andersen, was featured on last year’s hit single “Lean On” with Major Lazer and DJ Snake, and collaborated again with Major Lazer for this summer’s “Cold Water” also featuring Justin Bieber. She’s signed to Sony Music Entertainment.
Clark noted that MØ did two promotional appearances when she was in New York last month: She performed on NBC’s “The Night Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” and participated in Sweet’s shoot. “That shows you how important Snapchat is in reaching her fanbase,” he said.
New York-based Sweet, which operates from Hearst’s Manhattan headquarters, has a staff of about 30, including 22 editorial personnel. Ads are sold by Sweet, Hearst and Snap sales teams. Sweet managing editor Catherine Fuentes, who joined in May, previously worked at BuzzFeed, Rolling Stone, and NBCUniversal’s USA Networks. Deputy editor Mallory Rice, who was integral in putting together the music issue, previously worked at Nylon and has written for outlets including i-D, The Cut and Paddle8.
“People think of Snapchat as a social-media platform, but it’s really a communications platform — we think a lot about how to make the content conversational,” Clark said. “Snapchat is this generation’s TV. It’s all the content their friends are producing, and we wanted to take advantage of the power of video on this platform for the music issue.”
Before joining Sweet earlier this year, Clark was senior director of business development and strategy of Conde Nast Entertainment, where he helped lead the acquisition of Pitchfork Media.
Why is Sweet going out with a big editorial package on Sunday? Said Clark: “Sundays are when folks are in the mood to have a more leisurely day — we save Sundays for our biggest issues.”
While Sweet does not have sponsors specifically for the music issue, advertisers on the Snapchat Discover channel for the month of October include Revlon, Tresemmé and jewelry retailer Pandora.