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Spotify hypes freemium upgrades with its largest ad campaign ever

A new ad campaign focuses on increased personalization, which Spotify says makes its free version better for both users and advertisers.

Spotify hypes freemium upgrades with its largest ad campaign ever
[Photo: courtesy of Spotify]

In recent months, Spotify has proved itself a more than savvy marketer, with initiatives like its Black History Is Happening Now content hub, Cardi B’s Music School, and the David Bowie MTA takeover using culture in unexpected ways to illustrate both the power of music and the brand’s own place in that dynamic.

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This week the music streaming service is launching its largest-ever global marketing campaign to hype its upgraded freemium service. According to the company, there are 99 million people who’d rather listen to ads than pay $9.99 a month, and now those people will get more personalization through music recommendations and personalized playlists based on their tastes, more control over playlists, and easier playlist creation. (As long as it’s not R. Kelly or XXXTentacion.)

Set as fake summer blockbuster trailers, the two new ads drop favorite tracks into two unexpected places. In one, an action-flick car chase turns into a Miley Cyrus bonding session, while the other turns Camila Cabello’s “Havana” into a trigger song for one super creepy roommate. Spotify’s global executive creative director Alex Bodman says the idea for the campaign came from the product itself, specifically the heart feature, which allows you to like a certain song, and then, based on that, Spotify can serve up and suggest new music to you.

[Photo: courtesy of Spotify]
“We saw that heart, and while it is quite functional for the product, it’s also symbolic of the personal relationship each one of us has with music,” says Bodman. “So we started there, and then decided to explore work from all different angles in a way that felt like the right tone for our brand.”

Spotify’s global head of advertising Brian Benedik says that the newly renovated free version not only improves the experience for users, but also the advertisers looking to get their attention.

“When you think of what brands are looking for in terms of their investment, they want scale, but they also look for strong engagement,” says Benedik. “What we’re looking for in this improved free-tier experience is even more engagement with these users that will allow us to work with brands in some more creative ways.”
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About the author

Jeff Beer is a staff editor at Fast Company, covering advertising, marketing, and brand creativity. He lives in Toronto.

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