by Jonathan Mackall


Late Thursday afternoon I, along with dozens of others, descended upon room 11AB in the Austin Conference Center for a panel run by Nikoo Sadr of Music Ally, entitled “Mamma Mia! Scandinavian Digital Marketing Secrets”. Sadr spent much of the panel lecturing on marketing strategies which utilized Spotify- arguably Northern Europe’s biggest digital export.

Given the fact that Spotify was spawned in Sweden, its overall share of the legal music consumption market in Scandinavia is much higher (proportionally) than in the USA. Furthermore, its use is more widespread in most Northern and Western European nations than in the Americas. Thusly, some of the most successful digital campaigns using Spotify have come from European bands and managers. Artists like Veronica Maggio and Linnea Henriksson worked with Spotify to promote upcoming releases using “drip feed” campaigns. These campaigns involve releasing a new song (often with new artwork) each day leading up to the full album’s release. This system was shown to increase back catalogue streaming 50 to 75% leading up to the new album’s release date.

Not only are artists using Spotify to increase their listenerbase, but Spotify itself uses clever campaign strategies to increase its brand awareness in various regions. Spotify uses its curation team to help create custom-tailored playlists to fit almost any event- regional or not, often times to much success. For example, Spotify quickly posted a playlist for an event in Northern England called “Drummond Puddle Watch”, wherein a humongous naturally-formed puddle was lived streamed via Periscope as it stumped those who tried to cross it.

Spotify is also working together with certain artists to help them increase their fan loyalty. One notable tactic used for listener retention is swiped from Pandora- voice messages from artists. Whether it’s about an upcoming single release, or giving more insight on a track or album, hearing the actual artist speak directly to the fan has helped increase loyalty for many. For example, Melissa Horn, a Swedish pop artist, doubled her projected album streams upon release after placing spoken word messages to fans on Spotify.

While Spotify has been used very successfully by many Scandinavian marketers, it’s not without its flaws, Sadr admitted. The service isn’t interactive at all, leaving out social integration almost entirely. Furthermore, its search engine is pretty deeply flawed (although some artists have used the broken search to their advantage for campaigns). From an artists’ standpoint, Spotify also has no built in method for tracking royalties in real-time- one must turn to outside services to gather such data.

So while Spotify has its issues, it’s a powerful tool for digital marketers, and has been proven successful in its nontraditional ability to strengthen artists’ fanbases. Marketers are able to work with Spotify as a platform/tool and with its team as a company both to create unique and engaging digital campaigns.