The Way to a Millennial's Heart Is Through Our Ears
♫ Numbers don't lie, check the scoreboard ♪ - Jay-Z's music streaming app Tidal will not be making waves in the music streaming industry anytime soon, but rival streaming music service Spotify is riding out the surge in awareness and downloads sparked by the would-be competitor's efforts to demonize the platform for paying a pittance to artists and making a big splash in the coveted millennial market.
If you haven't heard of Spotify, listen up. Spotify is a Stockholm-based music streaming service that offers free and "premium" (paid monthly subscription) based options, the latter of which allows users to listen ad free and download music to listen to offline or on their mobile device. Music can be browsed or discovered by artist, album, genre, playlist, or even record label.
Spotify has been revolutionizing the music streaming industry since 2010 in European, American and Canadian markets, but most recently they turned their efforts inward by revamping their brand identity to better align their service with their user base of over 60 million worldwide consisting predominantly of millennials.
"Lots of companies are targeting this audience," says Alexandra Tanguay, Spotify's global brand director. "But for us, it's unique. Our founders are millennials, our audience are millennials. We listen to them, we talk to them, we interact with them for hours every day. The simple language we were using wasn't capturing the energy and power we have with that audience."
Spotify's bold, lively and vibrant rebrand that embodies their user demographic debuted at no place other than the millennial, techie, and music junkie mecca that is, SXSW. Spotify boasts a database of roughly30 million songs (with 20,000 new songs added daily) catering to a wide array of musical tastes and making for an eclectic user base, but the service overwhelmingly appeals to millennials (aged 18-34) who make up a whopping 65% of Spotify's user demographic.
So what is it about Spotify that makes millennials swoon? Well, as a millennial myself, I can confidently say as BuzzFeed suggests Taylor Swift, pizza and obscure 90's cartoons do, Spotify just gets me, ya know?
No but seriously, what Spotify does is fill the void in millennials that MTV has left us with when it went from a channel that had us crying out "I want my MTV," to a network dedicated to the cries for help of teen mothers. What we millennials want more than anything is a sense of belonging in a culture or community - a feeling of diversity without sacrificing inclusion and acceptance, which is a feeling not often found these days outside of the sanctity of music festivals.
We crave connection. Music is widely regarded as the universal connector of otherwise virtual strangers and what Spotify has managed to do is virtually replicate this in an essence by not just creating a music streaming platform but assimilating into the music culture and providing a means to actually enhance the experience listeners are capable of having with musical content.
Executive creative director Leland Maschmeyer, responsible for Spotify's rebrand has gone on record to say, "We knew that whatever we designed had to be identifiable as Spotify's voice, but could be adopted by the audience as they listened to it, made their playlists, and went to concerts. We needed to create a participatory system."
See, Spotify just gets us.
On average the typical Spotify user spends 146 minutes per day streaming music through the service, which is approximately 124 minutes more than I spend at the gym daily and 437 less than I spend on my mobile device any given day, which should come as no surprise considering mobile use of Spotify is dominated by the millennial market who "spend more time interacting with their devices" than the we do with each other IRL as some studies would lead you to believe.
Though of Spotify's 60 million users only around 15 million are premium paid subscriber streamers, the platform is a breeding ground for brand advocacy. Millennial consumers who regularly stream content for free on Spotify have been polled and are cited consistently to feel twice as emotionally connected to brands featured on advertisements within the app as someone who does not stream music through it.
Spotify values their paying customers as much as their freeloaders and is making a strong effort to reflect the diverse interests of their millennial admirers not only in their branding, but their overall message and positioning. This does not go unnoticed or unappreciated by millennials, and neither do ads that are served up to them while streaming by using Spotify's extensive targeting capabilities including age, gender, geo, day-part and genre built-in to the platform combined with data pulled on user's listening habits through Facebook's connections.
Soft drink giant Coca-Cola saw the immense potential a strategic partnership with Spotify could offer back in 2013 when they announced their global PlaceLists campaign, but just last week Spotify for Brands launched their Playlist Targeting feature, "an industry-first targeting solution" that starting May 1st will enable brands to "target unique audience segments based on streams from Spotify's 1.5 billion-plus playlists, from workout enthusiasts and commuters to millennials, parents and more."
"Music is an integral part of life, day in and day out," said Chief Revenue Officer at Spotify, Jeff Levick. "Our new targeting solutions based on rich behavioral insights combined with our global footprint in 58 markets give brands unprecedented ways to reach streaming consumers."
Are you hearing this right now?!
As marketers continually struggle to capture and retain the attention of millennials, Spotify possesses the ability to arrest our attention for hours at a time through the seamless integration of visual and audio experience catered to our tastes paired with inherent engagement features and participatory elements (i.e. custom playlist creation and curation).
Spotify is quickly emerging as the premier social platform for experimental, experiential millennial marketing in the digital space. So brands please, listen - you want the way to a millennial's heart? It's through our ears.
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