- Spotify this week launched a multichannel campaign to highlight a feature that gives users of the audio streaming platform a personalized review of their listening habits for the year. The theme of "2020 Wrapped" is "gratitude and resilience" to help recognize the artists, podcasters, listeners and playlist creators who "kept us entertained, grounded and informed" through a challenging year, per details emailed to Mobile Marketer.
- As part of the campaign, Spotify for the first time partnered with the National Independent Venue Association to take over space on the marquees of U.S. music venues that were forced to close during the pandemic. Spotify's "Circle of Gratitude" effort will feature images on social media and out-of-home advertising to express support for recording artists, podcasters and everyday people who share playlists on Spotify. The company will target the advertising by geography, such as placements in the hometowns of artists.
- Spotify's global campaign features more than 40 artists and 15 podcasts, and will run across out-of-home (OOH), digital out-of-home (DOOH), connected TV, online video, social media, web and the Spotify platform in 31 markets worldwide, per its announcement. On Dec. 7, Spotify will start running a "My 2020 By:" promotion that features a variety of personalities who have created playlists using its new audio format.
Spotify's yearly campaigns for Wrapped aim to showcase the distinctive features of its platform as the company continues to expand the user base for both its ad-supported and ad-free versions worldwide. As in the past couple of years, Spotify's campaign includes a heavy OOH presence, though the takeover of marquees on music venues nationwide is a new element as the company shows support for independent operators of theaters and concert halls that have been closed since the onset of the pandemic. The campaign theme of "gratitude and resilience" showcases how its music and podcast programming has helped to keep people entertained and informed during a tumultuous year of a global health crisis, economic recession and protests against racial inequality.
This year's Wrapped campaign is somewhat similar to last year's effort in highlighting its exclusive podcast programming, which has become a significant way for Spotify to differentiate its service from rivals like Apple Music, Pandora, iHeartRadio, Amazon Music and YouTube Music. Spotify this year continued to spend heavily on podcasting through direct acquisitions and licensing deals. Last month, the company made its biggest acquisition of the year with the $235 million takeover of podcast advertising and publishing company Megaphone to boost ad revenue. The deal followed its purchase of Bill Simmons' The Ringer network in February for almost $200 million to expand its sports and pop culture programming.
Among its licensing deals, Spotify bought the rights to stream "The Joe Rogan Experience," one of the most popular podcasts in the U.S., for more than $100 million, and signed a multiyear agreement with Warner Bros. and DC to carry scripted podcast series based on the comics imprint's superheroes. Spotify also signed a multiyear partnership with Riot Games to be the official and exclusive streaming partner for the game maker's "League of Legends" global events, a deal that includes several podcasts.
Advertisers have taken notice of Spotify's potential to engage audiences with audio experiences, though the company also streams video with programming like "The Joe Rogan Experience." Sportswear brand Reebok last month started promoting its first footwear collection inspired by rapper Cardi B in an interactive audio experience that let users create beat tracks on Spotify's desktop app. Carmarker Hyundai unveiled a mobile and digital experience to highlight the features of its 2021 Elantra sedan, while beauty brand Estée Lauder let Spotify listeners verbally request a sample of its latest beauty serum through Google Home smart speakers.
Spotify's expanded lineup of exclusive programming has helped to drive audience growth, including a 29% gain to 320 million monthly active users (MAUs) in Q3 from a year earlier, per a quarterly report. Spotify's ad revenue climbed 9% to $185 million during the period, while its subscription revenue increased 15% to $1.79 billion. Its efforts to monetize its programming included an agreement with Omnicom Media Group, which in July agreed to spend $20 million by the end of the year on podcast ad placements.