Creating for Spotify Canvas: How to think Vertical instead of cinematic
I recently created a new music persona. I thought it would be interesting to create a character for compositions I’m writing instead of myself as the face of the project. Cue TenderRobot, my musical identity. All these songs are written and recorded in my home studio, with my own setup. It’s electronic, Beatles-esque indie-pop.
The creative aspects of TenderRobot are myriad, especially the fact that I’m using AI to create content for this project, but I want to discuss the Spotify Canvas format and some insights regarding this feature.
One fundamental aspect is that Canvas is 9:16 aspect ratio — a vertical format to fit your phone screen. This format has been around for years, but as somebody who works in film and video, I’m used to the cinematic “widescreen” horizontal format you see in film and television. This is also the aspect ratio with which you consume video on your computer.
But creating content for the for the vertical Canvas format, the visual creator needs to rethink the way you frame your characters. If you look at this example of TenderRobot song “ElectroLullaby”, I created a female steampunk vampire character in the AI software Midjourney. The way she’s framed is a vertical format: she’s standing up. This makes you rethink the way you visualize your story: characters more often stand than sit.
In this example, it’s an eight second clip of a longer music video. Indeed, the time limit of a Spotify Canvas video is eight seconds. You can’t create a full story here, so you have to rely on these few seconds to reveal the feeling and atmosphere of your song. That being said, if you can successfully communicate that feeling, a Canvas can be something for your audience that both watches AND listens on Spotify.
In summary, creating for the Spotify Canvas format, you need to rethink the visual “shape” of your content. And it’s not as much story driven, instead feeling-driven and imaginative. However, It’s a method that a wide audience consumes which makes it worth delving into.
Link for the full song here.
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