Nearly two years after launching in the U.S. primarily via word-of-mouth, Spotify will air its first in a series of U.S. TV ad commercials on NBC’s “The Voice” Monday night as part of a larger branding campaign valued at over $10 million in media spend. The campaign, titled “For Music,” will feature digital and social media ads, with additional TV spots to air on NBC’s “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon” as well as Viacom’s MTV, MTV2, VH1 and other networks in the coming weeks.
A trio of spots released online Monday afternoon, created by ad agency Droga5, take a more existential approach to the streaming music service, focusing more on the feelings that music evokes rather than any specific product offerings. It’s an interesting tactic for a company that recently touted its 6 million paid worldwide subscribers at South By Southwest earlier this month.
One spot, which airs tonight on “The Voice,” features a crowdsurfer sailing across a sea of packed fans at a concert, with a voiceover posing the question, “Why can a song change the world?” The speaker then offers a list of answers, including, “Because we were all conceived to a 4/4 beat. Because music can’t be stopped. Can’t be contained. It’s never finished.”
Another spot focuses on a single panning shot of a man on a bus listening to headphones, with a voiceover that says, “There are so many memories between a chorus and a verse. And I’m back… in the place that made you and I us… for a moment… everything is as we left it.” It ends with the tagline, “For all the songs that remind you of her.”
A third commercial features a party full of 20-somethings dancing in slow motion while a voiceover says, “We don’t care that it’s a Tuesday. Or whose apartment this is. Because I’m dancing like a duke tonight. And I’m taking you all with me,” accompanied by the tagline, “For always being able to find a new beat.”
In an interview with Billboard, Spotify’s head of U.S. communications Graham James said, “We want to reach broad mainstream audiences in the U.S. with this campaign, and to really help define Spotify and stake a position that we’re ‘for music.’” James added that Droga5’s copywriter who penned the words in each spot also provided the voiceover. “He’s speaking the words because he feels that. And that’s the kind of passion that [Droga5] brought to the project. It’s more of an ethereal experience type of spot.”
Spotify could use the lead time to advertise itself now, with new streaming music services on the way from Google, Apple and, according to the Verge, Amazon and smartphone giant Samsung recently doubling the size of its Music Hub employees by end of the year to build out its own music platform. Ek discussed going head to head with his biggest competitors in a recent keynote interview at South by Southwest, where he said, “I’m not one of these people that believes the world will be ruled by a few companies like Apple and Google,” he said. “I think if you look at history you’ll see that the services and companies that have survived and thrived have been dedicated to doing one thing really well, whether it’s Netflix for movies or EA for games.”