If brands want music credibility, they must look to Spotify

This week Spotify unveiled a major design overhaul that makes the service look less like a library of tracks and more akin to a social media platform. The platform is finally addressing a concern I raised last year towards all streaming services: that they need to offer an opportunity to explore rather than just act as facilitators to free music.

Lara O'Reilly

Spotify now has a relentless focus around disvoer, with its founder Daniel Ek admitting this week that while Spotify was great when people knew what music they wanted to listen to, it fell down for users that needed some direction.

Soon Spotify’s interface – which will also appear on web browsers as well as the downloadable client – will be peppered not just with lists upon lists of its expansive library but information about what users’ friends have recommended, playlists curated by artists and brands and fun features such as “music you may have loved when you were 9” as the company looks to personalise the listening experience.

The result, Spotify hopes, is that users will become far more engaged with the platform, which will in turn help build the scale of the service as the propensity to share on social media or via word of mouth grows.

This is fantastic news for brands who are looking to forge credible ties with music.

For those brands who are already steeped in music heritage, they can recommend artists and build playlists to improve their own discoverability on the platform by building Spotify apps and inviting users to follow them. Brands and celebrities who have already signed up to this feature include E4, Heat, Time Out, Paul McCartney and, er, Rio Ferdinand.

Brands with music ambassadors, can even use a new mobile push notification feature to tell followers when their new music is available on Spotify.

In adding these new capabilities, Spotify is now providing brands who want to play on their relationships with music with further inventory to push out this message on the platform, rather than just relying on its – arguably often irritating – audio ads that only play to registered users on the free service when they want to inform people about updates.

By making music discovery personal, Spotify will provide users a service that in return they can help build as they share their discoveries. Users of music streaming platforms tend to be users in the most offensive sense of the word as they pillage sites and apps for freebies. The behaviour for many users is to log on to a streaming service only to use it in the background as they browse the web on a different tab – hardly the most loyal audience.

Spotify’s changes will help mitigate this type of behaviour and guide users into becoming more loyal to the brand, both in terms of keeping their eyeballs on its platform while their music is playing and in terms of value – especially if its algorithms help members stumble across their favourite new acts.

For this reason, brands looking to grab a slice of the music pie, should ensure they swing by Spotify as loyalty towards its service is only set to increase and the company is providing with advertisers more ways to build out credible music links – beyond annoying audio interruptions.

Have your digital campaigns sparkled this year? Was there a particular project that blasted through targets and delivered considerable commercial return for your business? If so, why not enter the digital category at the Marketing Week Engage Awards 2013 to be recognised for your stellar success.

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