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Spotify’s New Social Ads: Smart Engagement Or Twitter Spam Machine?

“Tweet the Beat” is a new feature launched by Spotify as it prepares for even more competition in streaming music.

Spotify’s New Social Ads: Smart Engagement Or Twitter Spam Machine?
[Photo: Flickr user suran2007]

Spotify is experimenting with new ways to keep your attention–and remind artists who the big kid on the block is as competitors emerge left and right. Its latest effort is a new form of social advertising they’re calling “Tweet the Beat.” Is this a smart form of social media marketing or just an annoying spam generator?

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Tweet the Beat is an interactive display ad that shows up when users play music from certain artists (just Rihanna at launch). A pre-written, but editable tweet is generated, thanking the artist for their work. From there, the user has the option to send the tweet or hit the “cancel” button.

The pop-ups seem designed to drum up exposure for Spotify’s content (each tweet contains a link back to the song on Spotify) while also trying to stroke the egos of artists, some of whom are nervous about the economics of music streaming. Or, it could just further clutter up your Twitter timeline with unnecessary posts about what your friends are listening to.

As music subscription services go, Spotify has done a pretty decent job with social. Its controversial 2011 integration with Facebook may have generated a ton of unfavorable attention from users (and the decision to require a Facebook account didn’t fly with a lot of people), but it did give Spotify a leg up by letting the service tap into the Facebook social graph, making it easier for users to connect with real-world friends and acquaintances–or in this case, allow them to follow each other and go deep down into 1990s nostalgia rabbit holes together.

Beyond following users, external social integrations, and shareable playlists, Spotify doesn’t get much more social, but it certainly beats most of the competition. Presumably Apple will try to redeem itself of the abysmal Ping–its first crack at a social music experience–with the upcoming revamp of Beats Music, which .

Spotify is facing competitive pressure that seems to mount by the week. Not only are Apple and YouTube rolling out their own music subscription services–on top of Google’s Play Music All Access and several other players–but Jay Z’s recently launched Tidal just arrived seemingly out of nowhere, eager to eat into Spotify’s market share. Both Beats and Tidal are reportedly looking to exclusive artist deals as a way to differentiate themselves–and to put more pressure than ever on Spotify, which must beef up its revenue streams to remain the front-runner in this increasingly heated landscape.

About the author

John Paul Titlow is a writer at Fast Company focused on music and technology, among other things.

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