Introducing Spotify’s Sponsored Playlist

Mix your mission with music


How many people around you right now are wearing headphones? Probably a lot, and it’s likely that they’re some of the near 100 million Spotify users. In a move with broad implications, Spotify recently allowed brands to sponsor playlists.

Spotify owns more than 400 playlists that “anchor the brand experience.” They range from favorites like electronic workout to coffeehouse favorites. Whatever your mood, there’s a playlist for it. That means that whatever your mission and message are, there’s a playlist to complement them.

Imagine that you’re a healthy living organization. Maybe you’re a socially conscious food company or a nonprofit that sends chefs to low-income areas to teach nutrition on a budget, sponsoring a dinner playlist can expose you to new segments or multi-expose existing ones.

Sponsored Playlists last for one week and include: “premium native logo placement, ownership of the first ad break, 100% display share of voice and industry exclusivity.” Spotify also gives advertisers “a combination of native promotion and brand marketing…and social tools.”

Spotify is mobile friendly, with more than 60% of its usage originating on mobile devices, so Sponsored Playlists reach people where they already are.

While Sponsored Playlists are growing quickly, social change organizations should expect to encounter cost challenges. Since the rollout of Sponsored Playlists, McDonald’s and Kia have been early adopters. Most social change organizations cannot touch that scale or spending power, which places many brands at the front of the line. If we revisit our healthy living organization, McDonald’s could just outspend it to sponsor the top dining playlists.

Cost also presents opportunities for partnerships. Social change organizations can partner with a large brand and pioneer a cause marketing campaign. Imagine an automaker introducing a long-range, zero emission vehicle partnering with a conservation nonprofit to help promote both causes. The Sponsored Playlist would likely be something for a road trip, maybe “Songs to Sing in the Car.” The brand gets positive attention by being associated with a strong nonprofit, while the nonprofit gets exposure to a segment it could otherwise not afford, and both benefit.

Sponsored Playlist is another tool in the arsenal for social change organizations. When running a paid digital campaign, don’t forget about Spotify’s impact as a touchpoint and medium to help promote your mission. Match your mission to music and change the world.