With Björk becoming the latest artist to hold her new album release from Spotify — not to menton Jay-Z’s ‘Tidal’ wave — the role of Spotify in the music industry has once again been making headlines. But in spite of heavily-reported Spotify media-bashing, more options and tools are being made available for labels to be able to take advantage of the platform for its marketing and promotional potential. Something which is more crucial now that single and album streams are being taken into account in the UK charts.
All artists, no matter their size or status can get a verified Spotify profile that fans can follow. Described by Show.co as “one of the most valuable digital currencies”, an artist “follow” on Spotify ensures that when new music goes on to the service, fans will be alerted immediately. In many cases, this can be up-to a three-pronged attack: directly targeting fans via the app, email and mobile push notifications. Verified Spotify profiles provide artists with the opportunity to actively build playlists, being as creative as they like with the themes. What better way to build excitement for a new release than to have an active playlist continuously updated with what a band is currently listening to in the studio?
The beauty of the Spotify platform is the way in which playlists are fluid and changeable. An artist can drive fans to follow a certain playlist within their profile, the theme of which can then be changed depending upon the time of year and relevant themes/ events which might be taking place in an artist’s career at a specific time. Labels and artists now have the ability to update branding on playlists themselves, such as the artwork and a line of text, which only opens up the options for creativity even further. Alongside these creative playlists, it’s also essential to have an ‘official’ artist playlist, exclusively comprised of an artist’s own music, another way of making sure that fans are alerted when new music goes onto the service.
Avicii’s manager Ash Pournouri recently raised awareness of the potential that Spotify offers in an interview with Billboard, describing the service as a “two-way platform that allows you to creatively market your music while generat[ing]revenue”. The pre-release marketing strategy for Avicii’s album took advantage of playlisting on Spotify by encouraging fans to sign up to an empty playlist, which became to be filled with “a medley of songs that would be on the album”. Pournouri also made light of the importance of using Spotify as a viral marketing tool in so much that they encouraged friends, fans and family to add Avicii’s lead single Wake Me Up to their own Spotify playlists to help spread the song to new audiences who would not have necessarily have heard it otherwise. This is a great use of Spotify to support a viral marketing campaign.
Similarly, on the lead up to the release of One Direction’s latest album, the band also made use of playlists to support the release. As MusicAlly reported, on the lead up to the latest One Direction album release, the band encouraged fans to get the hashtags #H1DDENinSpotify and the album title #FOUR trending on Twitter before they tweeted exclusive codes which could be entered into the search bar on Spotify to “unlock” exclusive content. In this case, the content being spoken word audio from the individual band member’s which could be “found” across Spotify as single “tracks” (type Y567FN7089 into Spotify) plus also within a specially created #H1DDENinSpotify playlist which also housed the band’s new album and back catalogue.
Playlists are the easiest way to really be creative on Spotify and take advantage of the platform and it’s not just exclusive to bands. Labels are also in on the action. Seasoned users of Spotify, over December last year, the label ran a “12 Playlists of Christmas” promotion, where 12 of their artists took over an already highly followed playlist that they had been building. Every couple of days, a different artist filled the playlist with their favourite tracks of the year. The playlists were shared across the label and artist’s social networks, with fans encouraged to share further using the hashtag #12PlaylistsOfXmas. PIAS recently reported that streaming has overtaken download sales for them in 11 markets around the World and this promotion was an excellent and creative way of boosting PIAS’s profile and playlist followers. Whilst at the same time, encouraging interaction and raising the awareness of their artists who had released album’s during the year.
Show.co is a marketing platform (also mentioned recently on midemblog here) which gives labels the opportunity to neatly present a track or video content to stream and most importantly capture fan information. Show.co is fully customisable for a campaign’s needs so it can be used to capture fan email addresses/ increase social numbers and encourage other activations, such as directing people to purchase albums/ gig tickets. In the past month, the platform introduced a unique feature, becoming the first marketing platform to allow track gating on Spotify. The platform requires fans to follow an artist, playlist or user in order to be able to listen to an exclusive track or content. Still in its early days, it’s a great feature which will likely be picked up by many labels. As with One Direction’s #H1DDENinSpotify campaign, it pushes the use of Spotify as being a great marketing tool in campaigns, presenting a place where additional content can exclusively exist (with artist’s earning money each time the content is streamed).
The upcoming addition of lyrics to the desktop app is just another step towards Spotify being able to open up the platform creatively – who’s going to be the first artist to encourage their fans to film a karaoke Vine of them singing along to their latest track? As expected at some point in the future, Spotify will look to introduce video content to the platform, which will only open up marketing options further and encourage labels to be more and more creative when it comes to Spotify and driving the streaming impetus forward.
Top photo via Spotify