With the rise of streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music, the music industry has been taken over by playlists. No longer are listeners confined to a single or album, there are playlists for every mood, situation and day of the week. The way consumers interact with music via these streaming services has made playlists incredibly important. Artists and record labels want to get their songs in them. They are curated not only by individuals but by Spotify’s data analytics. Their algorithms determine which songs, artists and playlists are working, making the curating of lists into a science. This has turned playlists into the perfect marketing tools for more than just musicians and record labels. Due to their interactive and customizable nature, playlists reach listeners and engage with them; an engagement that can be targeted and measured. Brands haven’t failed to noticed this and thus have been making the most of streaming services for the last couple of years. They have started inserting themselves organically in the lives of listeners by sponsoring and curating playlists. Of course, the traditional ads will come on promoting their products, but with their lists they can now reach even the listeners who pay for music with no ads. Companies have moved beyond ads and sponsoring ad free listening time, they are now curating their own lists and targeting specific demographics with them.

Take a look at some successful uses of playlists as promotional activations:


Disney and Spotify have partnered several times to promote movies. Besides the traditional ads and video pop-ups in the platform, they have created exiting activations for a few films that have included carefully curated playlists and personalized listening experiences.

For Beauty and the Beast Disney created a digital campaign where, using ads, they directed Spotify users to a digital Beast’s Castle they could explore. Every room in this castle had a Spotify playlist filled with Disney songs and users were encouraged to explore and find their favorite. The website is still live and once you log in with your Spotify profile it’ll use it’s algorithms to direct you to the room that matched your music taste.

Want to know which would be your room? http://beautyandthebeast-spotify.co.uk/

After their Beauty and the Beast collaboration Disney and Spotify collaborated once again to create an interactive experience that allowed users in over 16 countries to generate playlists inspired by both their personal music habits and the soundtrack to the movie Guardians of the Galaxy 2. This was called the “Throw back your playlist” and it was an engaging way to promote the movie in a personalized interactive way by making the most out of Spotify’s audio recognition algorithms.

The Guardians of the Galaxy integration is a unique experience which will transport Spotify users back to the music of the 70s, taking the movie for inspiration.”

More Information about their playlist here.


NETFLIX – Stranger Things

Stranger Things was the perfect show for Netflix to promote through Spotify. Given its status as a cultural phenomenon, its love for the 80’s and its plethora of pop culture references it’s natural to think of music as promotional tool. The show already has a great soundtrack and using it and the character’s personalities to curate playlists is a perfect activation for the brand. Netflix and Spotify took this integration one step farther, taking a cue from the popular “Which character are you?” quizzes they used user’s listening habits and the platforms algorithms to match them with a character’s playlist, all filled with great 80’s hits.

Curious about which character you match, give it a go: http://spotify-strangerthings.com/


HULU  – Handmaids Tale

Hulu did something similar for their show The Handmaid’s Tale, even though it was a less interactive activation than the other examples they used playlists to promote the show. First Hulu curated a playlist for the show that took songs from their soundtrack and songs that matched the feel and spirit of the show. Many revolving around the theme of freedom. They also had the actors curate their own playlists which matched their character’s journey.

 More information about the Handmaid’s Tale song choices here.


What are your favorite movie or show playlists?


Images courtesy of: Vulture, Spotify, Musically.com and The Drum.