Music streaming platforms have become powerful social networks with deep levels of engagement. Arguably, the go to activity on music platforms is playlist curating. As an independent artist myself, the goal is always to reach popular playlists as a way to get my song to shine. This is how most new artists are discovered. You hear their single on a playlist and if you want more, you go and listen to the body of work. For brands, acting as this platform is very powerful.

While streaming has grown nearly 25% in the first half of 2022, Pew Research showed that platforms like Facebook and Twitter have declined in usage, particularly among teens. The solution for marketers has been tapping into playlist culture through platforms like Spotify. The curation of playlists has evolved from a simple collection of songs to social brands with such powerful cultural relevance that playlists like Spotify’s RapCaviar have branched out into touring and video-on-demand properties commanding an audience of millions. 

Clever brands are approaching playlists in a way of an audio moodboard. Many are meeting fans where they are streaming and discovering music, which according to Spotify, is on fan-made or artist playlists. If the goal for brands therefore is to become ‘playlistable’ let’s break down what that means. 

Music enhances the product experience

With 84% of consumers agreeing music plays an important role in an enjoyable shopping experience, brands like H&M have begun migrating their brick-and-mortar playlist to Spotify, allowing for their brand community to experience the H&M In Store Music mood board on the go.

With over 27 Spotify playlists, Starbucks has gone beyond the in-store playlist to curate guest editorial takeovers with the likes of Alicia Keys to genre-themed playlists like its Summertime Hip-Hop. Even PacSun has created playlists like #MyDenimStory, which uses music to contextualise the sound of their prominent in-store products.

Match music to the brand and consumer lifestyle

For wellness and fitness brands, Spotify has shown a 44% year-over-year growth in wellness playlist streams. Peloton is a fantastic example of this. The playlists they curate for hundreds of different spin classes embody not only the brand byt the diverse array of trainers and enable users to revisit the playlist even when not spinning. The brand manages a suite of over 30 playlists ranging from instructor-created to thematic playlists around events like AAPI Heritage Month. Other brands such as Nike have curated workouts for specific athletic lifestyles. For example, its Nike Run Club playlist profile has an impressive community of over a million followers on Spotify.

Synch Damn Licensing 

The opportunity for brands to meet audiences around their music search offers a linear path for brands to engage with playlist culture. For example, Peacock’s hit show, Love Island, gave fans a streamlined experience to easily discover the songs featured in the reality show through an official Spotify playlist. Netflix took a similar path launching a Stranger Things 4 playlist, while Coca-Cola curated a playlist titled Coca-Cola Commercials to showcase all the songs used across its suite of commercials to its more than 1 million followers on Spotify.

Spotify Podcasts are also Major

Looking ahead, with U.S. podcast listenership growing 40% over the past three years and more than 50% of children now listening to podcasts, we anticipate more brands will follow ears into the podcast landscape by supplementing the development of original branded podcasts with curated podcast playlists. Look for brands to begin spending a bigger chunk of the $1.4 billion advertising monies on podcasts, growing the playlist communities these brands curate through music and podcasts.

Music is more than just content. It’s the soundtrack of our lives. And with the curation of every new playlist, brands have a chance to get in on the rhythm. 

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