A creative brief for new ideas in innovation and advertising for one of my favorite companies on Earth: Spotify.
I love Spotify. So much, that if I were being shipped to a remote island for the rest of my life, and could only choose two items to take with me, I would choose my phone and a solar charger. Not because I'm thinking about survival. I'm thinking about listening to the 50+ playlists I've made in the past two years. And the next 2000 I'll make in my lifetime (if I continue with these statistics, and live for another 80 years *knock own wood*). Naturally, I formed some ideas for the company I love so much: the introduction of shared and social listening, the introduction of collaborative photo albums attached to playlists, utilizing NYC's subway monitors for interactive ads, and branding Spotify via TV and video advertisements as the musical fuel that keeps us going.
Spotify holds a special quality that distinguishes itself in a cluttered world of brands and services: Humanness. The Spotify brand strives to provide genuine connection and close experiences unlike most other brands. Which brings us to the question: How can Spotify continue to innovate the intimacy of streaming? How can we make music more intimate than it already is? How can we give consumers and creators the opportunity to freeze that feeling they get when they hear their favorite song, with their favorite people?
Maybe a closer experience doesn’t exist in the music itself, but the memories that make music meaningful.
Enter Spotify Scrapbooks, a new addition to the existing personal and collaborated playlist creation feature, allowing you to upload photos and video clips to a collective reel associated with a single playlist. 30 file limit, 10 second videos. All files converted and optimized to easily processed sizes, and combined together into a slideshow that plays along with the playlist. The point is not to add another photo sharing feature to another mobile app. It’s not in the quality of the pixels or the presets chosen for edits. There are no captions. There are no likes.
Spotify Scrapbooks utilizes photos and videos for what they do best: allow the people who took them to feel the closeness they felt when making the memories they captured. Road trip? Family wedding? Best friend’s surprise birthday party? Make a playlist, invite people to collaborate, and collect photos and videos that will literally last a lifetime. Or what about the year you lived in New York? The semester you spent abroad? Spotify Scrapbooks not only makes playlists more personal, it reinvents the playlist itself. A playlist for partying, a playlist for running, a playlist for studying - we know that drill. But what about playlists for life?
In addition to making playlists for tasks or moods, Spotify Scrapbooks encourages people to make playlists for the chapters and events in their lives - freshman year of college, that week long trip to Iceland, spring in Stockholm or winter in Los Angeles. A collection of songs that not only reminds you of a time, but lets you relive it through a selection of photographed and filmed memories. It’s a new type of closeness in music. Sentimental sounds and slivers of “that time”, all at the touch of a screen.
Spotify Scrapbooks, Video Script
Advertising - MTA New York (Subway Monitors)
Music celebrates life. Spotify connects people.
The MTA will be introducing monitors to New York’s subways, a system that hosts over 1.7 billion people each year. 1.7 billion eyes. 1.7 billion ears. With advertisements in NYC subways approaching a transition from static stills to moving (yet soundless) productions, brands face new levels of competition in the realm of transit ads. In order to avoid annoyance triggered by sensory overload, video ads must be personable and engaging. In order for new ads to stand out from their competing neighbors, these motion shorts must be bold and enticing. They must build off of what people universally love. What people already do on subways. Conveniently, what Spotify is all about: listening to media.
In order to increase it’s competitive edge in advertising with other media-streaming services like Tidal and Apple Music, Spotify can introduce video advertisements in NYC transit trains that are synchronized to specific songs, each ad prompting viewers to play a certain track on their Spotify app at the signal of a countdown* (“Join your fellow New Yorkers in an immersive video experience, crafted to “Song Name” by Artist - Press play in 10, 9, 8, 7… Play!). *The countdown can appear alongside a traditional ad still before the video plays, utilizing every paid minute. Additionally, these advertisements can be used to promote certain artists through the synchronized song of choice.
With a personal call for engagement, the content advantage of viewer-led sound, and community focused ad viewing, Spotify can actively grab the eyes and ears of NYC’s public transit audience, reaching millions of people every day. People from all backgrounds and of all agendas. People whose paths may have never crossed before. Now listening together. It’s another opportunity for Spotify to do what it does best: connect people through media, and innovate our everyday experiences.
Advertising - Just Keep Going
Music is more than leisure. Hundreds of thousands of playlists dedicated to exercise, studying, working, or keeping ourselves awake serve as a testimony that we listen to music for more than just pleasure. Spotify should break into the video and television advertising domain with advertisements that focus on the streaming app’s ability to keep us going. To motivate us, push us, and exceed our craziest aspirations. A group backpacking Mount Kilimanjaro. A student up at 4:00AM cramming for a test. An athlete on his last burpee. Two friends on their 3rd all nighter before the deadline for an entrepreneurial grant.
Spotify, your extra push.
It’s when you think you’ve exhausted every last ounce of endurance, and then that song you love brings you back to life. It’s when you finish, hit pause, and pack up the books. It’s when you celebrate the following the night to your favorite playlist. Spotify is there, always.
Spotify Social Streaming
Spotify goes above and beyond for intuitive streaming. But what about the type of streaming that doesn't yet exist? With an increasing number of online and offline streaming services offered on web and mobile stores, Spotify risks a progression in its loss of customers to competitors like Apple Music and updated subscription options to previously existing music services (Pandora, Soundcloud, 8tracks). The major consumer markets that Spotify attracts are compiled of younger generations. What do communities of youth and millennials care most about? Connection, social welfare, and relevance. What if Spotify had a social listening and notification feature where users could join & invite their friends in following their song selections with every skip, pause, and rewind?
Spotify. It’s streaming made social.
Now connecting over music isn’t just for parties or festivals. Imagine two friends parting after college, a family member moving abroad, a significant other relocating to get their master’s degree. Now imagine those pairs in different locations - across the country, across the globe, somewhere in the same city - listening to the same music, at the same time. You are driving into the city on your first day at the new job, and *BING* “Olivia is now listening with you”.
You can set your Spotify session to:
- Private (no one can join), Spotify is a personal experience
- Unlisted (with the option to send a link to specific friend(s) prompting them to join), Spotify is a reuniting experience
- Inviting (anyone you are friends with in the network can join), Spotify is a reconnecting experience
- Public (your friends + anyone in your local vicinity can join), Spotify is a new experience
Creative advertising could focus on Spotify as not only a listening app, but a connecting app. Uniting old friends, new friends, and potential friends through the universal language of music.