Pick your Platform: Steve Meraska on Spotify’s noteworthiness

Starcom MediaVest Group's SVP of innovation, insight and disruption uses a custom playlist to present his take on the streaming service.
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What is the most innovative media platform in market today? That is the question MiC is posing to the industry, with Steve Meraska, SVP of innovation, insight and disruption at Stacom MediaVest Group on the potential for Spotify.

Experiences matter since they can transform human behaviour and unleash the potential of brands. It’s from this place that my team and I wanted to create more than a static point-of-view here. Instead, we’ve created a “point-of-listen.” So, in a playlist, here’s some key thoughts on why we believe Spotify will be successful in Canada.

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“The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” by Gil Scott-Heron:

Spotify has a music catalogue of 20 million songs. That matters because music is perhaps the most powerful content form. Its seemingly supernatural powers can unite a nation or unite lovers, inspire a generation, cause a smile or a tear, evoke vivid memories, erase socio-economic lines and transcend geography. Proof: pretty sure you can right now cite all the lyrics of your favourite song. Will pause while you do that.

Ok, back now. You’re not alone. Experiments by cognitive psychologist Daniel J. Levitin reveal people can readily recall the lyrics of their favourite song (and the tempo). This suggests those who regard music as “background content” are backwards thinkers. Music’s influence goes beyond lyric recall as a recent study by “Social Psychological and Personality Science” intriguingly concluded: music has real effects on listeners’ power-related cognition and behaviour; music elicits power. The brand love story with music is significant too since 74% of music streamers feel more favourable toward brands engaging them through music vs 58% of non-streamers (Nielsen). Brands that correctly identify and create their sonic soundtrack with Spotify will be leveraging a nearly supernatural power to the tune of 20 million.

“I Need All The Friends I Can Get” by Camera Obscura:

We live an era of ephemerality. Careers, marriage and even physical appearance, once considered forever are hardly that. We also live in a time where customization and sharing aren’t luxuries but rather necessities. It’s true of music where customization and sharing (from the mix-tape to iTunes) meant it had to be owned. Why would anyone (except hardcore audiophiles) “own” music when Spotify, lets you “rent” (you’ll never feel stuck with music you bought and grew to loathe) and importantly, customize and share your music for the low cost of listening to periodic advertising? Oh, don’t want ads? Spotify has a paid premium service for you. Spotify reflects culture and behaviour realizing people’s inherent need to customize and share. If you have a doubt, share it with the 40 million or so people using Spotify.

“I Want You” by Elvis Costello:

Given that people spend on average 80+ minutes per day with Spotify it knows and continually learns much about its users through the music they listen to and share, when and how. Spotify’s recent acquisition of the music intelligence platform, The Echo Nest, provides data driven insights based on content and activity. This is critical since music choices (artists, genres, songs, playlists) reveal so much about people’s attitudes, beliefs and lifestyles thereby leading to interesting targeting and creative opportunities. For example, your morning music choices might be very different from those in other dayparts so brands could serve messages imbued to reflect those very different music choices begging the question: can a piece of creative be designed modularly to interchange its music component to best align with people’s music choices?

As Spotify’s buzz and audience grow so too will its insight capabilities. Marketers and media professionals must now better understand the true value of music and its associative behaviours and begin innovating with music. In doing so, Spotify should be an invaluable partner.

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