Spotify Play Button: Digital Music’ Largest Marketing Funnel Just Got Bigger

A quick one….

Spotify today announced its new ‘Spotify Play Button’ feature.  As Giga Om Pro’s David Card Tweeted, it is ‘Spotify’s 1st baby step towards 2-way platform syndication’.  In a nutshell the feature enables publishers to post embedded song stream links on their sites, thus adding music context to their stories.  Publishers at launch include Vogue, GQ, The Guardian and NME.  Crucially the Play Button is not an audio embed but instead a link that will play music from Spotify’s servers, via a user’s Spotify app via the site.  Which means that if you don’t have Spotify you don’t get to listen to the music.

10 Million Users Translates to a Small Share of a Publisher’s Readership

As much as a success story as Spotify is, its 10 million users (or 17.5 million depending on which source you choose) are significant in digital music terms but tiny in Internet user terms. Which matters a lot to mainstream publishers such as Vogue and GQ who appeal to broad demographics.  Only a small share of their readers will actually have Spotify accounts, so the majority of their readers will, as I told the BBC, encounter user experience ‘speed bumps’.  Readers will either not be able to listen to music or instead will have to register for Spotify…assuming of course that they are Facebook users, otherwise they will have to register for Facebook first, and then Spotify.

So non-music specialist publishers (i.e. those whose readers will not in the main have Spotify) will likely get as much reader push back as they will positive feedback.  For Spotify though it is all win-win.  This is a smart customer acquisition tool.  Combined with the Facebook integration Spotify now arguably has the largest marketing funnel of any digital music service (YouTube, and by extension Vevo, excepted).  And this is what it is all about, as the following quote from the Spotify press release attests:

Anyone new to Spotify will be set up with the Spotify desktop app, which powers the button in the background, as soon as they start playing the music.

Another Step in Spotify’s ‘Music API’ Strategy

As I’ve argued before, Spotify want to become the API for Music.  This is part of that strategy.  Soundcloud should probably be concerned – though they are more than smart enough to find out a way to make their universal accessibility a highly visible differentiation point.  YouTube and Vevo though won’t be losing sleep.  The majority of user generated music links will continue to be YouTube embeds, as will the majority of publisher music links.  The web is becoming an ever more video-rich experience and music is no exception.

So, a small but smart move from Spotify that will do wonders for their user acquisition and ‘Music API’ strategies.  The case for publishers though is less clear cut.

13 thoughts on “Spotify Play Button: Digital Music’ Largest Marketing Funnel Just Got Bigger

  1. Pingback: Spotify Play Button: Digital Music’ Largest Marketing Funnel Just Got Bigger

  2. Definitely a step in the right direction. The day Spotify can not only stream ad-supported songs directly off-domain, but even give a cut of the ad revenues to the publisher in an adsense-like, scalable, self-serve manner… well then that might just be enough to create the platform that defines the new music industry.

    There’s a lot of if’s in that statement, and I’m not even sure Spotify gets there first. Lots of steps to go…

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  5. I don’t think it makes sense to advocate an artist-wide boycott. Every artist is different, as is every one of their fan bases. Horses for courses. In most instances though, giving visitors to your artist site or artist social page should involve some form of free music. Why? Because a (hopefully) very large share of the visitors will be new visitors who haven’t heard much (any?) of your music before. Some press pics, concert dates and pointing them to paid downloads and CD stores is not the next right step. They are the end game (or part of it).

    When a potential fan visits your site they are still in the marketing funnel. They still need marketing to. And unless you’re a teen boy band, your music is the product not pretty pictures. Giving them only a Spotify stream would be as short sighted as Vogue only offering Spotify streams to their readers for the simple fact that the majority of your visitors will not be Spotify users (yet?). But it makes absolute sense to consider making its part of the mix to increase convenience. Remember again, they are still in the marketing funnel, so remove any speed bump to discovery that you can.

    If your target fan base are young and tech savvy and in Western Europe or the US you probably want to include the Spotify Play Button as part of your marketing mix. But even then you’re not going to be well advised to do that and that alone. And finally of course Spotify has the benefit of paying a little more to artists than the other normal free promotional alternatives (Soundcloud, youTube, hosting your own free download).

    So all in all I’d say the Spotify Play Button is a good tool for most artists to consider using, sensibly, as part of an integrated, targeted and suitably diverse marketing mix.

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