- Spotify, the music streaming service with more than 50 million paid subscribers, has added a feature to share songs by scanning a special barcode with a smartphone, the company announced in a blog post. Spotify Codes gives every song, artist and playlist a unique symbol resembling a sound wave that can be passed along through social media or by text message, TechCrunch reported.
- To see a Spotify code, a smartphone user taps the “three dots” button on the right side of the screen while listening to a song or while looking at a playlist or profile page of an artist. Smartphone users also can upload a photo of a code to scan it from apps like Instagram.
- The feature makes sharing music easier by eliminating the steps of asking someone to send a link to a song or playlist.
Spotify Codes create a visual shorthand that can be shown in promotional advertising for musical artists or any brand that wants to feature a musical playlist associated with its product. Coca-Cola Canada, for example, is running a summer promotion that replaces its logo on beverage containers with scannable codes that will play music from curated Spotify playlists.
As for Spotify, the codes feature can help to foster the idea that it’s the place to go for on-demand streaming music. Spotify users who share the codes on social media may lead to a viral adoption of its mobile app.
The news is the latest example of a resurgence in 2D bar code or QR code marketing, which had a surge several years ago and then seemed to die off, possibly because not enough consumers were familiar with being able to point their phones at a graphic to activate an online experience. Platforms and marketers may be taking another look at the strategy now following successes like visual search and Pokemon Go, which have made users more comfortable with some of the ways they can use their phone's camera to engage with the real world. Snapchat’s scannable Snapcodes helped to promote its image-sharing service on other social media like Facebook and Twitter while Facebook is testing QR codes for rewards.
With streaming music replacing the need to purchases downloadable songs stored on a phone or in the cloud, Spotify is facing growing competition from Apple Music, Amazon and Alphabet’s YouTube, which last week renewed its streaming deal with Warner Music. Spotify also needs to differentiate itself from SoundCloud, whose embeddable music player is found on 1 million websites, compared with an estimated 250,000 for the Spotify player. Stockholm-based Spotify was a pioneer in on-demand streaming, but others are catching on quickly.