Music gets social with Spotify.

Spotify is a legal music streaming service boasting over 15 million tracks.  A user has unlimited access to its music database online on their computer for free (with ads). Alternatively, they can pay $7.49 per month to avoid the ads and, if they pay $12.99 a month, their access is not limited to the computer or having to be online – playlists can be accessed offline and from a smartphone (Spotify Premium). Spotify pays record labels a fee every time a song is streamed.

Because a user must use Spotify with a Facebook account, the Spotify medium is inherently social. A user can see a feed of what tracks their friends are currently listening to. 

15 million active users and growing!

Spotify launched in Sweden in 2008 and is now available in 15 countries including the UK, US, Australia and NZ.  It boasts 15 million active users and four million paying subscribers. It was launched in NZ in May of this year. Spotify has planned to expand even further into Canada, Asia and South America.

So who‘s on it? Interestingly, there are slightly more men on Spotify than women (60% male). Also, the largest age group on Spotify is 18-24 year olds, followed by 25-34 year olds and then 12-17 year olds. So if you’re interested in targeting a younger market, this medium will be helpful. 

Exciting opportunities for advertisers.

As well as the multitude of more traditional digital format adspace, the Spotify platform also offers a more impactful option: page takeovers (if the page becomes idle – a full page ad displays for some time before allowing the user back into Spotify).  There are also audio ads, video streaming, branded playlists and apps within Spotify for brands to utilise.  Internationally, McDonald’s has launched an app on Spotify where users can listen to the music their friends are listening to, Reebok’s app creates playlists for workouts and AT & T’s app matches songs to locations based on where they were written/recorded etc so you can search for music via a map. 

McDonald’s in Australia has integrated Spotify into its Facebook app – so that fans can contribute to the creation of the ultimate social play list and be in to win a 12 month subscription to Spotify Premium.

Nissan partnered with Spotify in the UK to live stream a gig via Spotify with international stars La Roux and the Naked and Famous.  Nissan advertisements surrounded the live stream – driving viewers to the Nissan site where they could remix a La Roux track and enter the competition to win a recording session with La Roux.

Locally, during the Olympics, ASB ran a campaign through a Facebook app where fans were sent updates about the Olympics and asked to provide information about their mood (happy, confident, proud etc) relating to the update. They were also asked to select tracks best suiting their chosen mood. At the end of the campaign, a Spotify playlist was created from the fans’ selections during the  campaign and was available for free download. Three fans were also chosen randomly to win a grand prize for engaging with the app.

What can we learn from Spotify?

Spotify’s success indicates that other live streaming media such as TV series, movies and radio may also benefit from utilising social functionality.  Online gaming already utilises social functionality. We know that people trust recommendations from friends more highly than any other source, therefore being able to see what media their friends are currently consuming is a benefit to users – they’re able to source new content that they’re more likely to enjoy more easily. Therefore, social integration in this context is empowering for users.

Author: Virginia Bashford is mad about music… not only did she introduce us to Spotify, she mixes drum and bass on the turn tables and plays the piano.