Spotify Looks to Experiment with Brand Profiles as iTunes Radio Readies Launch

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Spotify wants to help brands infiltrate your music choices. The music streaming service already offers an ad-based model, but now it plans to deploy a feature that will allow users to ‘follow’ their favorite brands and listen to brand-created playlists. 

The feature, which will be similar to how users can follow and ‘like’ brands on Twitter and Facebook, will enable marketers to create more of a relationship with the over 6 million Spotify users that pay to skip ads. Still, Spotify is only “talking with brands” about the feature and their willingness to test it out, AdAge reports

After only entering the US market in 2011, Jeff Levick, Spotify’s chief sales, marketing and international growth officer says that 2014 “will be the year to see what externally we can present as new products,” as the service tries to prove to marketers that its more than just a radio service.[more]

Some brands, however, haven’t waited around for Spotify to create them a dedicated space. Several luxury brands including Bergdorf Goodman, Pierre Balmain, Hugo Boss and Rebecca Minkoff have created virtual ‘mix tapes’ and playlists for users to listen to as a way to create a “unique voice and personality” for the brand, commented Christine Kirk, CEO Social Muse Communications. 

“Playlists allow luxury brands to share equity with the artists featured on those lists,” said Jason B. Cohen, EVP The O Group. “It’s also a great opportunity for luxury brands looking to communicate a curatorial point-of-view.” 

Recently, Match.com, the world’s largest dating site, partnered with Spotify to create playlists for special date nights.  

But Spotify isn’t the only music service that brands are itching to get a piece of. Apple’s iTunes Radio will debut next month with an already solid list of major brand partners including McDonald’s, Nissan, Pepsi and Procter & Gamble, with ad deals rumored to be worth tens of millions of dollars for 12 month campaigns, AdAge reports

Those ads, served as audio once every 15 minutes and video every hour, come in three forms: interstitial audio and video, “slate” ads and interactive display ads—all of which will be displayed across iPhones, iPads, desktops and laptops that are loaded with iTunes, as well as Apple TV. While users can avoid ads by buying into iTunes Match, they’ll pay a larger fee than other streaming services. 

Still, the newcoming to the streaming industry poses a significant threat that is based solely on the fact that it will be easier for users to by actual music on iTunes Radio as compared to competitors like Spotify and Pandora. 

“It’s a move against other music-streaming companies’ strategy of allowing users to passively listen to songs interrupted by ads or to charge them a premium for the ability to play songs on demand and listen to ad-free digital radio,” AdAge comments. “Regardless, the caliber of iTunes Radio’s launch partners proves that, at least initially, there’s enough interest in the service to garner attention from some of the most recognizable brands and biggest ad spenders in the US.”

And that means game on for competitors. 

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