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Spotify has a morning show that I’m addicted to right now

Woody Harrelson’s character in the 1997 movie Welcome to Sarajevo has this great line, where he rakishly declares at one point, “You know, only two good things ever came from England. One, America. Two, The Beatles!”

The statement is a gross exaggeration, of course, but it’s the kind of thing that can feel at least directionally accurate to a certain kind of music fan. Most of the music I love came from there, which probably explains my addiction to a new quasi-morning radio show I recently discovered and have incorporated into my daily routine. Everything I love stays in heavy rotation on this show’s playlist, from the The Clash to New Order, The Stone Roses and, of course, The Fab Four. In fact, that trick is how Spotify was able to hook me me on The Get Up, a new … well, think of this still relatively new Spotify playlist (which is really a radio show) as the sonic love child of a podcast and a playlist, mixed with the trappings of a traditional radio show format. There are hosts to keep you entertained and informed, A-, B- and C-block segments, and, of course, plenty of music. Music that Spotify pulls from the bands, artists and genres that it already knows I love. Like on one particular morning, when The Get Up hosts Kat Lazo, Speedy Morman, and Xavier “X” Jernigan had finished one of their segments, and the show then delivered up the first chunk of music algorithmically tailored to me. Next thing I knew, Peter Hook’s sublime, propulsive bassline that opens the track Age of Consent on New Order’s staggering 1983 album Power, Corruption & Lies was filling my ears. And I knew I was home.

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“It’s fresh, it’s new, and it’s also super personal,” The Get Up cohost Kat Lazo told BGR in an interview, along with her two other cohosts, about the show. “What we hear a lot about our dynamic is that it’s so inviting to, like, listen to three friends kind of talk about what’s going on in the world, whether that’s pop culture, whether that’s the news. It has that personal touch, and on top of it — the way it’s different from a traditional FM radio show — everyone is going to get different music.

“I may get some songs from Bad Bunny, some hip hop, some R&B, and that kind of touch also personalizes the experience for users.”

The show, which launched in October, had already picked up more than 1 million listeners by January, the streamer told Bloomberg. Not bad for a show that kind of bobs and weaves around users’ expectation of what, as a music lover, you can expect these days from a streamer like Spotify, and from an offering that has elements of both playlists and the produced segments of a podcast. “The Spotify team did a great job of explaining to us what their vision was, and kind of how Kat, X and I fit into the mold to help achieve that,” Morman told BGR. “This is something that didn’t exist before, and being part of the team to help bring it to the mainstream was really exciting to all of us.”

Spotify screenshot

For the “A” segment of a recent episode of The Get Up earlier this month, things kicked off not unlike how a high-profile traditional radio show — say, The Breakfast Club in New York City — might get things started. It has that same feel, while also, because it’s Spotify, being something different. “Here, as always by my side, are the homies,” Jernigan began, before detouring to offer a personal shout-out to a friend who happened to be celebrating five years of sobriety that day and who was also a Day 1 listener of the show — a man who works in sanitation for the city of New York, who Jernigan went on to praise as “a great father, hard worker, (and) he’s somebody who inspires me, whether he knows it or not.”

Then he handed things over to Morman, to deliver the day’s headlines. “To start with a little bit of good news, the newly approved vaccine from Johnson & Johnson could be arriving in the (US) today …” That led to some back-and-forth between Jernigan and Morman, with both men agreeing that everyone needs to “buckle down, so we can get there together,” and that “If you look closely, guys, you can almost see light at the end of the tunnel.”

According to Morman, the produced segments — which, again, are separate from the stretches of the show wherein Spotify serves up music tailored to each listener’s unique tastes — include a generally news-heavy A-segment, followed by more talk and banter, as well as pop culture, in the next segment. Which, in turn, is followed by more heavily produced, thought-out segments in the blocks after that.

The segments also feature recurring bits like “Stump X,” wherein Jernigan answers trivia questions asked in an effort to trip him up (he’s one of those frustratingly dedicated polymaths who, you know, knows a little about a lot). All in good fun, of course.

It quickly becomes clear to new listeners that The Get Up is trying to be a new kind of morning show, but, this being a streamer as global as Spotify, you can of course also listen whenever you want over of the day. The show is ready for listeners every Monday through Friday, starting at 7 am Eastern at www.spotify.com/thegetup.

More than that, though, this is another example of where Spotify as a global entertainment giant is headed — with non-music offerings, especially podcasts, increasingly in the streamer’s sights. A few days ago, a forecast predicted that Spotify’s podcast listening audience will overtake Apple’s for the first time this year, thanks in part to locking in deals with creators like Joe Rogan, as well as President Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen, for exclusive podcasts. As The Get Up shows, there’s a lot more now to keep you hooked and entertained inside the Spotify app, beyond simply using the service to stream your favorite Post Malone track for the umpteenth time.

“We’ll keep adding new things in as we go,” Jernigan tells BGR. “And what’s dope is, I want to be clear about this, they didn’t just have this ready-made show and it was all set up and we just came in as hosts. We also helped to build what the show sounded like from the beginning, and the producers were also good about inviting us into that process, asking us questions about what we feel is missing from morning radio.

“For us, we wanted a show that didn’t have a negative tone. We wanted this to be a show that was positive and helped ease you into your day with a smile.”

Adds Lazo: “We have listeners in Alaska, in Hawaii, and people calling in from Vermont and Washington state” — all over, in other words. The cohosts also did their first Instagram Live (@thegetupmorningshow) a few days before chatting with BGR. “On Instagram, we hear from people that this is now part of my morning routine — but for some people, their morning is starting at nine, while for other people it starts at noon. And we’ve heard this is part of people’s workout routine.”

As far as what Lazo thinks is the best thing about the show right now, “You know what I’m loving? I’m loving the love we get from our listeners. It’s amazing that in a moment when we’re so isolated, when we’re all in our individual homes, we the hosts have the pleasure of interacting with one another on a daily basis remotely — sometimes I even forget, oh that’s right! An entire nation is listening to this! So, when people give feedback on Instagram or by calling in, I think that’s my favorite part. Just reminding each other we’re not alone, we’re not isolated. That there’s an entire nation that is relating and that wants this type of content.”

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