Spotify's Coachella #WeWereThere Campaign: High Tech and Sweet, Sweet Air Conditioning

Artist rendering of the Spotify Tent at this year's Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival by the Visionary Group.

(Courtesy of Spotify)

For the month of April, the average temperature in Indio, Calif., the locale for the 16th annual Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival, hovers around 90 degrees. Hoofing it between stages and across 90-acre-plus polo fields for hours upon sweaty hours in the desert heat can take its toll. Dehydration, heat exhaustion, skin damage... or worse. So what's a savvy marketer to do?

How about, say, a mirage-like air-conditioned oasis in the middle of it all?

At this year's Coachella, in one of the festival's rare on-site sponsorships (as the official Digital Music Partner) Spotify will offer fest goers a place to chill -- literally. Located between the Sahara and Mojave stages, the air-conditioned 150-person capacity Spotify Tent will allow the sweat-drenched to take a breather in relaxation pods, recharge their smart phones and hear Coachella playlists. Here too is a “Mosaic Photo Booth” (which also made an appearance at their house in Austin during SXSW), allowing your mug to appear on multiple album covers based on your Spotify listening habits.

But that's just half of the initiative: Embedded within every Coachella RIFD (radio-frequency identification ) wristband -- essentially your festival ticket -- is the ability for Coachella attendees to "connect, collect and share" their festival experience in an initiative Spotify is calling #WeWereThere. 

“The campaign is made for Coachella goers to relive and rediscover their festival journey through the technology of our RFID that is integrated with the festival,” explains Rachel Moreno, Spotify’s global director of experiential marketing. "You can synch your RIFD wristband on Coachella.com ,and then we'll have a number of check in stations on site in various locations -- at concert stages, at camp grounds, art installations. You'll be able to check in all over and collect custom Coachella playlists, follow your favorite acts, and then it will aggregates that into your own Coachella journey and your own Coachella story.”

Part of that story includes the ability for #WeWereThere participants to pick up playlists curated for Coachella by artists that include Surfer Blood, Dillorn Francis, the Glitch Mob and Zoe. Additionally, existing Spotify playlists by Little Dragon, Pharrell Williams, Martin Garrix, Lana Del Rey and others can be downloaded as users check in at some 17 hubs spread out across the Empire Polo Fields.

At the end of the festival, those who’ve engaged in the campaign will have a digital postcard that aggregates all the places you’ve been and your Coachella experience that you can share with friends, The playlists will then be a part of your Spotify profile.

In addition to its own in-house creative team, Spotify hired Layerframe as a developer and design partner for the Coachella campaign as well as The Visionary Group, a production company who worked as an activation partner to build out the tent. With 90,000 ticket holders for each weekend, one would think one of Spotify’s primary marketing goals would be to convert festival goers to the music service’s premium-tiered subscribers. But, according to Moreno, that isn’t necessarily what this initiative is about. They won’t, for example, offer free subscription cards or discount codes. 

“We want to connect with Coachella users so that they can relive this festival experience, which strengthens their relationship with our brand and [will] have them listening to more music,” Moreno says.” “This is about enriching their experience and making it more meaningful and personal to this audience who are already super passionate about music. It's great way, through their Coachella experience, to continue to relive it just by listening to the music they love on Spotify.”