Magazine article ADWEEK

The Data's in the Details: Spotify CMO Seth Farbman on Millennial Listening Habits and Insights

Magazine article ADWEEK

The Data's in the Details: Spotify CMO Seth Farbman on Millennial Listening Habits and Insights

Article excerpt

Spotify, the Swedish service that's brought music streaming into the mainstream, has spent nearly a decade winning over millennials. Now, with 30 million subscribers and 75 million users, it's begun targeting a broader demographic, with spots featuring a rock album from Pope Francis, Americans moving to Canada, and Falkor, the doglike creature from the 1984 film The Never Ending Story. Spotify's CMO and Clio Music Awards juror Seth Farbman discusses how the company uses data, what that data says about millennials, and how music is shaping advertising.

What kind of millennial insights are you seeing from the data? What we have seen very consistently is this use of music to either share who you are or hide who you are. We've done a number of things, like the Year of Music, which allowed music fans to look at their listening habits through an entire year. We delivered it back to them with what their most listened-to artist was, where they listened most, how their patterns changed throughout the year, etc. And what we see is that people are reluctant to share because they don't want people to know that their secret love is really Madonna from the '80s. [However] they're anxious to share because they want to be seen as the tastemakers that they are.

How do those insights play into your pitch to advertisers? The data shows high-tide engagement. People are listening to music for 2.5 hours a day. It is one of the primary applications that they open. They are the exact audience--that millennial audience--that almost every brand is trying to attract. And it's an audience that is open because when you're listening to music, you're in a state of emotional openness. Just think about why we even play music: to feel better, to expand ourselves. So that is the right audience in the right time frame in the right mindset. And that requires advertisers to take their communications a little more seriously--but when they do and provide the right context, real magic can happen. And then it doesn't feel like selling. It feels like sharing.

What are you doing to compete with Apple Music, Pandora and Tidal? When we look at the competitive set--when you've got an amazing brand like Apple focusing on the music industry again--we think that's good for the music industry. And we think that it's good for the growth of streaming. …

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