Spotify Stops Selling Music #ThatSongWhen

Oct 15 • Social Media, Trending • 3508 Views

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedInPin on PinterestShare on TumblrShare on RedditEmail this to someone

One of the first things you learn about selling a service as a marketer is to never compete on price because there will always be someone able to sell for cheaper. So, if you’re not supposed to compete on price, what do you compete on? Well, this is where your brand has the opportunity to shine through.


A strong brand will be able to charge more money than a competitor if they have brand equity. In Spotify’s new #ThatSongWhen campaign, Spotify continues to separate itself from other music services by not selling music, but by selling the moments that music helps you create.


Let’s take a step back.

This idea started six months ago when Spotify released these ads:





The ads focused on showing how music can be tied to every moment you experience in life. These ads also made a point of connecting Spotify to social sites such as Instagram and Facebook, making the case that Spotify, just like Facebook, Instagram and other social sites, is a service you need to use daily. (So don’t cancel your subscription.)


Lastly, these ads slyly showed off the feature and benefits of Spotify. Each ad took place on a different Spotify platform:


  • The first ad showed off the desktop Spotify app and Facebook song sharing integration.
  • The second ad showed off the Spotify web app and the ability to share songs through links.
  • The third ad showed off the Spotify mobile app and the playlist creation and sharing features.


These initial ads focused on displaying how Spotify could help you confess your love, flirt in the digital age and reconcile with your loved ones. All big moments in a person’s life, and all moments that can be tied to music.


Fast Forward to now.

In September, Spotify launched its current campaign #ThatSongWhen. The campaign, from Ogilvy & Mather in New York, “wanted to tap into the truth about music and it was really important to tap into real people and their feelings and the songs that inspire them.” This campaign was built around the same idea that Spotify had six months ago, which was to tie music to emotional moments in its users life.


This time, however, Spotify users would be able to participate in the campaign by sharing the music that scored their greatest or worst moments. In the words of Erin Clift, Spotify’s VP of Global Marketing and Partnerships, “Our consumers’ love of music and their telling other people about that passion has helped fuel our growth. We were looking for a way for our users to not just be spectators of the stories, but to be creators of the stories.”


The campaign was built around three ads which recounted moments in the lives of three people which could best be explained by one song.





All three are great ads that show the importance of music in your life. Even the tag line at the end “You have the story, We have the song” puts the moment before the music. Spotify doesn’t want you to buy music, they want you to buy moments.  These ads also end with the call to action of #ThatSongWhen, inviting users to share their moments. A quick search would lead you to a microsite where users are able to share their own story.


The #ThatSongWhen campaign took the Spotify mission one step further allowing individuals to help build the Spotify brand story. The way these individuals are emotionally invested in the songs they share by proxy become emotionally invested in the Spotify service, making both the music and Spotify indispensable.


This brilliant campaign for Spotify shows how to sell a service: Stop selling and start telling! Build a story around your brand and if you can, allow individuals to help build that story with you. It will increase brand equity and stave off competition. Without a doubt, this has been one of the best ad campaigns this year.



#ThatSongWhen I twisted my ankle trying to copy the dance choreography.




Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedInPin on PinterestShare on TumblrShare on RedditEmail this to someone

« »