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Spotify Wrapped: Spotify’s successful marketing strategy

It’s mid-November, which means one thing: only a few more days to listen to your favorite songs on repeat on Spotify before the platform analyzes your data from the year 2022. Yes: with December just around the corner, Spotify Wrapped 2022 and its new features are coming. Let’s take a look at this marketing campaign that reflects well Spotify’s success story.

Last year's Spotify Wrapped cover

The world’s largest music streaming service provider

You may be living under a rock if you have never heard of Spotify. But just in case, here is a quick reminder of the audio streaming platform’s story. Spotify is an international online and offline music streaming and media services provider. It was founded in 2006 and publicly released in Europe in October 2008, before being launched in the US in 2011. It was not the first ever created, but it is today’s world’s largest music streaming service provider.

Available on all devices all over the world, it offers over 50 million songs, adding 40,000 new songs every day to its platform. With 356 million users and 158 million paid subscribers in almost 80 countries, Spotify represents 36% of the global music streaming market alone. The users can either go for the freemium version, which is ad-supported, with a skip-restricted shuffle and ready-made playlists, or for the premium version, which allows an unlimited access to songs, no ads, a better audio quality and the possibility to download songs. The company claims that its mission is “to unlock the potential of human creativity – by giving a million creative artists the opportunity to live off their art and billions of fans the opportunity to enjoy and be inspired by it.”

Spotify, a successful streaming platform made for everyone

Spotify’s recipe for success

Even though competitors have surfaced since Spotify’s creation, such as Amazon or Apple, the platform continues to rule the market. The key to Spotify’s success? Personalization and innovation.

An efficient pricing strategy

The company has indeed made many wise choices since its debut. Their freemium version, first of all, was a bold but successful strategy that made them stand out, offering similar features and functionalities as the premium version. It is even more efficient as it makes the users want more, with the premium giving them a “no limits” atmosphere. In 2015, Spotify’s conversion rate was already very remarkable with 26,6%, as 20 out of 75 million users were using the premium version. In 2021, this number has sky-rocketed to 44%, with 158 million paid subscribers out of their 356 million users.

A fantastic user experience

Easy to use, Spotify is available on all devices: not just desktops and phones, but also Chromecast, Google Home, Alexa, PlayStation or Apple Watch, and you can easily move from one device to another. Moreover, the company has always put personalization at the heart of its service. Its use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) is brilliant, allowing itself to create playlist recommendations based on the artists, type of music, genre or BMP the user is listening to.

Spotify analyzes the listening patterns of their users to try and predict their mood and the genre of music they might want to listen to in the future. Their “repeat rewind” playlists, for example, allow users to listen to past songs they could not get enough of. The streaming platform makes music discovery extremely easy but also easy to listen to songs the user already loves, by manually updating its playlists to ensure that they remain as fresh as the time they were created. With its motto “Listening is everything”, Spotify also creates playlists associated with activities, such as a coffee break, a walk or yoga.

New features that just keep coming

Let’s keep in mind that this streaming service is also a social media! It allows its users to share music on other socials, follow their friend’s daily mixes or playlists, and even see what they are currently listening to.

Regarding innovation, Spotify has differentiated itself from other platforms by not only being in the music business, but in the audio business: the company keeps investing in the podcast industry since the beginning of 2019. This could allow the service to provide other content forms in the future, such as short stories or audiobooks. Finally, in October 2020, Spotify went one step further in innovating their user experience by allowing its users to search a song by only typing its lyrics in the research bar.

Spotify keeps innovating by adding new features to its app, one of its key to success

Their biggest hit: Spotify Wrapped

Spotify Wrapped is probably the company’s most successful strategy. Described as a “best-in-class marketing campaign”, it has won multiple Webby awards and is the ultimate amalgamation of machine learning and the user’s music taste. As a reminder, Spotify Wrapped is an annual campaign where the users of the platform can discover a summary of their listening data over the past year. The company started this trend in 2015, being first called “Your year in music” (before changing it in 2017), and directly becoming a hit viral marketing technique. It has now become a December tradition by streaming users around the world; everyone is waiting to find out their top 5 artists, top 5 songs, top 5 albums and other data the app has collected between January 1st and November 27.

Personalization at its finest

By managing to get a personalized touch to every single person using their platform, Spotify keeps following its chore principle of personalization, which is what makes this form of advertising a success: people love it because it is highly personal. Indeed, Spotify Wrapped is all about their year in music, their listening preferences, their music choices. It both captures the users’ attention by sharing information about themselves and makes them both feel unique and members of specific groups. Spotify provides this data in a visually attractive format, using words of encouragement and empathy, as well as impactful catchphrases.

A few of the features of last year's Spotify Wrapped

Spotify, by our side

The campaign is also aimed at reminding the users that Spotify was with them throughout the year, that they shared a journey, which helps humanizing the brand. In fact, let’s not forget what this campaign is all about: contributing to Spotify’s success. With this easily sharable format, millions of users share their Spotify Wrapped every year to their social media, which is a boost for the company. In 2020, the campaign saw over 60 million shares from 90 million users (not counting the screenshots), and the app’s downloads increased by 21% in the first week of December.

Every year, a new formula

To keep it fresh and culturally relevant every year, Spotify adds new features to the wrap. In 2019, the company created a decade wrap; in 2020, they made a 10-year playlist; in 2021, they played with gamification and connectivity with the wrapped blend, a feature to see how your music tastes match up with your friends’, and other original features such as an audio aura, a quiz or a “soundtrack of your life if it was a movie”.

We can sum up Spotify Wrapped’s keys to success in 5 points:

  • Personalization
  • Shareability
  • User-generated content
  • Customer-centric
  • Constantly evolving

However, even such a massive cultural phenomenon as Spotify Wrapped is not guaranteed to last. Things move fast on the Internet, and many companies are already reusing Spotify’s concept.


A wrap on Spotify’s success

Spotify’s growth is impressive. The company has managed to conquer the online music industry through customer satisfaction and personalization, becoming the world’s market leader. It keeps evolving by constantly innovating and offering new features to its users. If this doesn’t prove that Spotify is more than just a music platform, what does?


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26 Responses

        1. That was exactly why I decided to write about it in the first place, so thank you Fabio ! 🙂

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