In the highly competitive world of music streaming — where Apple Music and Spotify are slugging it out while Tidal tries not to get stepped on — companies are looking for any angle to get ahead. And Spotify thinks it’s found a new one. The Swedish streaming giant is testing out a new strategy where they provide the biggest stars loads of free marketing, to show that they can bring more ears to the artist’s work than any other platform.
Their test case? Katy Perry.
According to an in-depth look at the operation from Bloomberg, Spotify coordinated a massive email and Facebook campaign notifying Perry fans that her disco-ball-debuted single “Chained To The Rhythm” was available to stream. They also paid for billboards in Los Angeles and London telling commuters that new Perry music was out. And they are far from done. Bloomberg says that this is just the beginning of a “months-long campaign” leading to the release of Perry’s still-unnamed Prism follow-up.
According to Perry’s team, it was all Spotify’s idea.
“They were the ones who said, ‘We want to make this a big part of what we’re doing, we want to give you every level of support,’ ” Martin Kirkup, a partner at the Perry-representing artist management firm Direct Management Group, told Bloomberg. “We didn’t ask for a billboard. They offered it.”
Spotify reps told the financial news publication that it’s all part of a larger plan to position themselves as the artist-friendly streaming service.
“We’ve done a lot of thinking about how to position ourselves and be a better partner to the artist,” said Spotify Chief Content Officer Stefan Blom. “We didn’t have an artist marketing team before, and we have that now. That was a direct consequence of dialogues between [Spotify Global Head of Creator Services] Troy [Carter] and I, and with artist managers and labels.”
By positioning themselves as a home for artists, the company hopes to avoid getting burned on big exclusives like Beyonce’s Lemonade (which went to Tidal) and Drake’s Views (which played on Apple Music) in the future.