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Snapchat has started producing original content for its Discover publisher portal again, a few months after the mobile app shut down its own channel on Discover and reportedly laid off members of the team producing articles, photos and videos for that channel.
Over the weekend, Snapchat added a music-themed channel to Discover that features articles and videos produced by an in-house content team. Starting on Saturday and running until the new year, Snapchat is dedicating each day to a specific music genre -- EDM, hip hop and R&B so far, with a country edition scheduled for Tuesday -- and publishing original articles and videos recapping moments in 2015 like the beef between rappers Drake and Meek Mill.
Spotify has signed on as the exclusive sponsor for the series, according to a Snapchat spokeswoman. In each daily edition, the streaming music service has been running between three and four full-screen ads that appear when users swipe between pieces of content and display the tagline "Spotify Year in Music."
A small internal team led by Snapchat content boss Nick Bell is producing the content for the Discover channel, the spokeswoman said. It's unclear whether Snapchat plans to make this a recurring feature after the music series ends later this week, whether it would produce original content without a sponsor lined up, and whether the company plans to run a daily Discover channel again. The spokewoman declined to comment on the company's future plans for original content.
In addition to articles profiling artists in the genre who had big years and shorter write-ups about under-the-radar songs, the music-themed editions feature videos that showcase live performances, explore what goes on behind the scenes of those performances and interview the artists performing.
While most of the content appearing the music-themed channel doesn't mention who produced it, four longer articles do.
An article titled "The Year of Jack Ü" -- a look at Skrillex and Diplo's massive year in EDM -- was written by Megan Buerger, a former Billboard staff writer who joined Snapchat as managing editor for music content in July 2015, according to her LinkedIn profile. That article includes original reporting, such as an interview with Skrillex. Ms. Buerger wrote another article for the R&B edition that features illustrations inspired by songs from indie R&B artist Raury's album. An article in the hip hop edition titled "Drake: From Meme to Mainstream" was written by Erika Ramirez, whose LinkedIn profile lists her as culture editor at Rookie, fashion-writing wunderkind Tavi Gevinson's online magazine for teen girls. And a listicle about top female R&B singers titled "R&B Queens" was written by Steven Horowitz, a freelance journalist who had previously been an editor at Billboard and MySpace, per his LinkedIn profile.