Spotify: Changing the face of social music consumption

Music: the most social concept in the world. We make music together, we play music for others, we enjoy music in groups and we make music before we can even speak. Music crosses cultural boundaries and can become viral in an instant. This is why music fits in, so naturally, to our world of social media.

Let’s check out the current social music consumption landscape:

iTunes rules at music organization. Pandora takes the cake for music discovery. Grooveshark has the gold medal for playlist creation through streaming. Turntable revolutionized the game of social music enjoyment and Indaba has connected social to the music creation process. Nearly two weeks ago, Spotify came to the U.S. and changed the face of social music consumption for good.

Hundreds of thousands of Americans have registered for Spotify’s free service that allows access to 15 million songs, up to 10 hours of music per month. The Spotify app connects to Facebook, and allows you to see and subscribe to all the playlists that your friends have created. With a free account, small advertisements interrupt your listening pleasure, similar to Pandora. The first banner ads appear to have been purchased by large companies such as Coca-Cola and Chevrolet, illustrating Spotify’s importance to brands. Coke even ran a contest when Spotify launched in the U.S. giving free accounts to their Twitter followers.


Upgraded accounts can eliminate these ads and make your music database mobile. Mashable reports that within one week, 70,000 U.S. users had purchased the paid service. This is especially impressive considering that accounts are still invitation-only, allowing the community to grow gradually as each new users receives five invites to distribute.


Photo courtesy of Matt Smith.

Other social music sites should be feeling threatened. Right now, Forbes estimates Pandora’s stocks to be $10 a share, 40% below market price. In fact, the day that Spotify launched in the U.S., Pandora’s stocks plummeted 6%. Spotify has been successful for years in Europe, and after agreements were reached with U.S. record labels, we can expect this success to traverse to ocean.

On the social side, we’re watching the shift in behavior surrounding music consumption; online sales are just as important as sold-out tour dates and the amount of Facebook fans or Twitter followers can make or break an upcoming artist. New stars are now found online and passionate communities paint their faces in support of their favorite group through their social profiles. On the corporate side, we’re seeing record labels continue to use social media in innovative ways. If you recall, during the run of NBC’s hit show, The Voice, each iTunes download of a contestant’s song counted as a vote that could determine a wide-eyed singer’s future.

My question to you is what are we missing in social music enjoyment? At this rate, any desire is being realized and brands are recognizing its importance. Are tour sponsorships no longer the best way to spend advertising dollars when more and more people are beginning to use apps and streaming services for their music enjoyment?And how can brands continue to play within this space?

I predict that the most innovative ideas will be born in a brand’s digital team’s brainstorm room and pitched to the execs of these social music sites. The social world is continually evolving. Our creativity can help determine its future.

Where do you think social music consumption is headed?

*Jessica Will, Ogilvy 360 Digital Influence Atlanta, contributed to the post.*

Published by

Devin Zimmerman

Devin is passionate about the way you speak, digitally. She began her career on the 360° Digital Influence team at Ogilvy Public Relations in July 2010 as an intern, and is now a Digital Strategist in the Atlanta office. She’s worked with research and strategy for several different Ogilvy clients, including Intercontinental Hotel Group, NBC Interactive and BP. Devin has found her niche in research and metrics and specializes in utilizing tools to create a deep understanding of all things digital. Devin came to Ogilvy after several years of experience in the nonprofit sector where she led fundraising and communication efforts. She’s worked with the Jeannette Rankin Women’s Scholarship Fund and Imagine It! The Children’s Museum of Atlanta. Devin holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Relations from the University of Georgia where she also studied French and women’s studies. She also studied intercultural communications in Paris, France. Devin has mastered the art of social media with the Atlanta 360° Digital Influence team and continues to be a forward thinking trendspotter who stays on the peak of the social media wave. She believes that the digital world is always changing, and is dedicated to keeping her team at the front of the pack. Follow Devin on twitter: @devinz.