Are iTunes, Pandora and turntable.fm so 2010? Like many around the world, I am a big user of iTunes and I have the premium version of Pandora. BUT, Spotify has given me immediate access to new music, with the opportunity to share with my friends. By now, is it safe to assume that we all have heard of Spotify?
Spotify, a global music sharing service, came to the US with a vengeance after a successful platform in Europe. The service gives users access to more than 15 million songs and up to 10 hours of music/month. Currently, it is not open to the public—users must receive an invitation via signing-up on the site or through one of Spotify’s partners. For instance, I gained immediate access via my Klout account on July 18. A nice “perk” for being a member of the Klout community. According to All Things Digital, Spotfiy has 1.4 million users for its free version, and 175,000 have signed up for their paid subscription. This 12.5 conversion rate is important to the Spotify business, the music labels and certinaly the bands.
More exposure; More touchpoints
Record labels see the importance of this kind of sharing and the social networking aspect of the service. The service offers bands and their label mates more exposure than they may not have gotten otherwise, or at a faster pace. Big brands, like Coke, are also seeing the importance of this service to their digital strategy, forming a deep and meaningful relationship with Spotify. Coca-Cola offered free subscriptions via Twitter and directed users to their Facebook page, in addition to the ads users with subscriptions to Spotify hear and see.
Do bands need to re-examine their online marketing strategy? If you are a music fan like me, you have seen the benefits social media has had for bands, like road warriors zigzagging the country in a beat up van to visit and share their music with fans. Facebook, Twitter, Upstream, etc. have given fans immediate access to bands, their music, their happenings and even secret shows in select cities. Take Ernie Halter for example. I’ve been listening to this dynamic singer/songwriter since 2007, and last year I saw him at a local coffeehouse show on his college tour. The story goes like this, Halter became aware, via social media, of Justin Bieber covering “Come Home to Me” off his album, Franklin & Vermont. While I am not a Bieber fan, you can imagine what happened next for Halter.
- Gained thousands of followers he may never have had
- His target audience became much more diverse
- Created an immediate bond with Bieber
- Covered one of Bieber‘s tunes
- Bieber surprised Halter with an impromptu duet of Come Home to Me at a show in Costa Mesa, CA
This is exposure and marketing you cannot pay for, but was garnered through social media sharing. The real challenge now for Halter is providing valuable content to his diverse audience base. Spotify is another medium for bands or singer/songwriters to garner more exposure. Now more than ever, bands should be continually monitoring their online strategy.
As a social media layer (i.e., Google Plus), Spotify bundles Facebook and allows users to see and subscribe to the playlists that their friends have created. Of course, the free version incorporates ads in between your music (similar to Pandora). We all expect ads on the free version, and generally most of us are ok with it. However, a huge opportunity is lost here. Ads should be targeted to the listener, not at random. Targeted marketing makes more sense than blasting ads out to all.
Staying current and understanding all mediums in today’s digital and online world is essential in reaching your digitally conscience audience. Acknowledging where your audience is and creating opportunities to interact with them is the essence of a strategic and targeted marketing campaign.