Spotify bands together music and podcasts in global multichannel campaign

Dive Brief:

  • Spotify this month introduced its first global campaign of the year to highlight how its music and podcasts help to inspire and connect people. The “Music, Meet Podcasts” campaign will run across social, digital and out-of-home (OOH), and is part of the release of its “Listening Is Everything” platform for brands, per an announcement shared with Mobile Marketer.
  • The campaign includes a TV commercial that will appear during the ABC telecast of the Emmy Awards, which airs at 8 p.m. ET on Sept. 20. The 30-second hero spot shows performers Khalid, Ariana Grande, Bad Bunny and Jemele Hill, along with Ben Kissel, Marcus Parks and Henry Zebrowski, co-hosts of “The Last Podcast on the Left.” Spotify also released a series of digital videos featuring artists and podcasters including First Lady Michelle Obama, Tove Lo, Calvin Harris and Esther Perel. Spotify also added an in-app feature called “My Forever Favorites” to let people share their favorite podcasts and music.
  • The campaign comes as Amazon announced it was adding podcasts to Amazon Music, the e-commerce giant’s streaming audio platform. The announcement was followed by a drop in Spotify’s stock value, CNBC reported. Amazon Music lets users in the U.S., U.K., Germany and Japan listen to podcasts for no additional cost in its ad-supported and paid subscription tiers.

Dive Insight:

Spotify’s first global campaign of the year comes as the streaming audio wars continue to intensify, and the company’s stock value has been on a downward trend for the past month following a period of significant growth during the early months of the pandemic, when people were staying home and streaming lots of content. While Spotify’s user base is growing, it faces challenges as advertising sales have broadly taken a hit during the economic slowdown that’s arrived in the wake of the global health crisis.

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With its new marketing campaign, Spotify aims to show how its platform can work for brands. The company is showcasing the variety of programming that people can find on its platform, which increasingly includes exclusive series like “The Michelle Obama Podcast” and “The Joe Rogan Experience.” Spotify has spent heavily on podcasting acquisitions and licensing in the past couple of years to differentiate its service from rivals as the audience for podcasting continues to grow.

Spotify, whose global audience grew 29% to 299 million people in Q2 from a year earlier, faces greater competition with Amazon Music’s push into podcasting this month. Like Spotify, Amazon is creating exclusive podcasts to urge people to use its service instead of others. DJ Khaled, Becky G, Will Smith and Dan Patrick are among the personalities who will host shows for Amazon. The music and true-crime podcast “Disgraceland” next year will only be available on Amazon Music instead of multiple platforms now, The Wall Street Journal reported.

While Spotify has 1.5 million podcasts and Apple has more than 1 million, Amazon is launching with 70,000 titles including “Crime Junkie,” “What A Day,” “Radiolab,” “Revisionist History,” “Planet Money” and “Stuff You Should Know” that aren’t exclusive to its platform. Amazon Music’s push into podcasting follows the recent announcement of a partnership with sister platform Twitch to let musical artists livestream performances in the Amazon Music app.

Meanwhile, podcasting pioneer Apple aims to increase the user base for Apple Music, a key rival of Spotify, by bundling the audio streaming app with other services. Apple this week introduced the Apple One bundle that offers Apple Music, Apple TV+, Arcade and iCloud storage as a base package of $14.95 a month. Apple doesn’t have an ad-supported tier that’s free to listeners, limiting its audience to people who are willing to pay for ad-free listening. 

In the U.S., the percentage of people who listen to podcasts at least once a month this year grew to 37%, or 104 million people, from 32% in 2019, per a study by Edison Research and Triton. Marketers are taking notice, with spending on podcast advertising next year forecast to grow 45% to $1.13 billion in the U.S., surpassing the $1 billion mark for the first time, researcher eMarketer estimated last month. That heady outlook will continue to draw investment from companies including Spotify, Apple and Amazon into podcasting.

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