Snapchat boosts creative toolset with Spotlight and Voisey

2020 has become a good year to make a buck in the creative industry, and Snapchat is using the current landscape to forge a strong comeback in the social media arena.

Social distancing regulations imposed by Covid-19 continue to usher in a burgeoning DIY culture, and Snapchat is taking full advantage by bolstering its already impressive digital design arm with updates Spotlight and Voisey.

Aspiring artists in particular are forgoing conventional career steps like specialist colleges and their massive tuition fees in favour of going it alone with everyday digital applications.

While some maybe missing out academic opportunities, the upside is that lockdown is providing creatives with plenty of time to hone their craft, and if you know the places to look for creative briefs and agency commissions, there’s decent profit to be made.

Once deemed a specialist industry that’s generally tough to crack into, digital design can become a lucrative venture simply by getting to grips with accessible and free AR softwares instantly available on smartphones, like Facebook’s Spark AR or Snapchat’s Lens Studio. Building out an online community and professional portfolio has never been simpler too, thanks to social media.

Speaking of accessible and free software, the introduction of Snapchat’s Spotlight and Voisey features have just arrived in the same week. Once considered a simple messaging app, Snapchat could now be on course to become the social media HQ for digital designers and aspiring creatives looking to get noticed and potentially start earning in 2021.


Spotlight

Social media analytics show that 75% of Snapchat’s young user base has persisted with the platform purely for its swappable camera ability and AR filters, but Snapchat isn’t too keen on the fact that its content is constantly going viral on Instagram and TikTok.

Up steps Spotlight, Snapchat’s own music powered, vertical, short bite video feature which will showcase the community’s creative talent from directly within the app. For users, the feed will be pretty reminiscent of TikTok’s ‘For You’ page, the crown jewels of the video-sharing app. Though under the surface, Snap’s philosophy is very different.

The default setting on Spotlight will stop your profile from being instantly visible to people viewing your post, which means people can dabble in short bite AR content creation without attracting unwanted attention, should they so wish.

Obviously if the name of the game is to go viral and gain lasting fame people probably won’t consider this anonymity a good thing, but for those starting out it eliminates any sort of disadvantage in terms of getting views. Those mixing in famous social media circles will have to go through the same hurdles as first-time posters, and won’t be able to coast via their hefty follower numbers whilst uploading mediocre content. All those with original ideas have the chance to excel from an even playing field.

To engender this feeling of quality over quantity, Snapchat will be sharing its revenue with Spotlight’s creatives too. Any video that receives upwards of 100,000 views a day will receive a chunk of Snapchat’s $1million dollar pot every 24 hours – and uploads in the top 5 to 10 will make some serious money.

It’s an interesting move from Snapchat and one that is sure to garner favour from creatives. While most in social tech are busy raking in all they can through their in-house talent, Snapchat is not only providing monetary opportunities, but is also rebuilding its once flourishing sense of community.

If you want to get in on the act now and try its features out you can find Spotlight on the home screen denoted by a play button.


Voisey

What good is it going up against giants like TikTok if you don’t provide a detailed music library for creatives to choose from when making videos? On that front, Snapchat has taken a rather unique avenue.

Admittedly, Snapchat is probably in the same ballpark as TikTok in regard to its official music archive, which is a little sparse, but that’s only because Snapchat is instead encouraging people to create their own music with the acquisition of emerging vocal effects app Voisey.

Again clearly taking aesthetic inspiration from TikTok, Voisey allows users to create their own instrumentals, which can be overlaid with your own singing and spruced up with various audio filters like auto tune, automated harmonies, and even a Billie Eilish effect. With a selection of AR effects and filters to play around with, accompanying videos can be created also.

On the surface the app may seem somewhat trivial, and like a bit of a laugh, but it does have previous when it comes to drawing industry attention to genuine musical talent, as Olivia Knight – who goes by ‘Poutyface’ on the app – displayed by signing with Island Records earlier this year.

There has yet to be official word on whether Voisey will become an extension of Spotlight, but given that both Snapchat developments have both dropped so close to one another it’s safe to assume that it probably is in the pipeline.


The evolution of Snapchat

Capitalising on the shortcomings of rivals is a tried and true route to success, and while TikTok has ensured it isn’t overlooking much, its failure to directly reward or incentivise creatives on its platform has been jumped on by Snapchat.

With every profile’s content having the same opportunity to take off, those struggling to grow their audience on rival apps are sure to try their hand at Spotlight. Combine this with the future integration of Voisey, and Snapchat’s take on the short-bite video space will provide room to be creative in ways that aren’t currently available on rival platforms.

Snapchat has managed to maintain its large and youthful follower base, and a steady stream of novel updates such as the Astrology profiles, and Turbovote has kept engagement steady. With the release of Spotlight and Voisey though, it feels as though Snapchat has really upped the ante and shown its hand as it evolves into a scrollable short-bite video platform.

Don’t be surprised if, once again, Snapchat becomes a key player in the social media arena for 2021 and beyond.

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