Data’s Role in Music and Marketing

Music services like Pandora, Spotify, and Shazam can be a goldmine of information for brands interested in targeting segmented audiences for advertising. These platforms have millions of users and as a result collect innumerable data about them.

For marketers, it’s not just the quantity of data, but the quality. Streaming platforms acquire demographic information when users sign up, as well as location data from their mobile devices. They can also look at users’ taste in music and draw conclusions about who they are, what they’re interested in, and the context of their listening.

“I can tell you with certainty whether you’ve got a 20-year-old male at 5 p.m. on Thursday afternoon who’s about to go for a run,” says Jeff Levick, chief business officer at Spotify. “It’s a great opportunity for us to match brands who want to reach people going for a run, in the car, marking dinner.”

People who stream music are incredibly valuable to marketers, as they’re twice as likely to advocate and feel emotionally connected to brands, according to Spotify’s global Brand Impact Study from earlier this month. Surveying 4,500 people in nine countries, the comScore-administered study looked at the music-streaming services and devices respondents used, and their feelings toward 200 brands.




The study found that streamers are significantly more likely to recommend a brand, consider a brand trustworthy, be willing to pay more for a specific brand, and feel that a specific brand is the only one for them. Because streaming music is inherently more active than listening to a preprogrammed CD or the radio, Levick believes the people who do it are more open to content.

“Streamers love content,” Levick says. “By virtue of that, they’re more likely to watch TV or watch movies or do these things online.”

According to the study, streamers tend to shop more, both online and in-store. While they’re in stores, millions of consumers hear unfamiliar songs and use Shazam, another platform with troves of data.

Simply by seeing what people Shazam, the music-identification app can predict the Billboard Hot 100 list 43 days in advance, see what’s trending where, and identify which commercials and scenes in TV shows inspire people to use the app, knowledge marketers would love to have. 


“Shazam plays a huge role [in music marketing] because it becomes that ID point, that mirror to show people are reacting,” says Peter Szabo, head of music and west ad sales at Shazam.

“As hard as it is to break a song on the radio, it’s been even more difficult to get a song in a commercial or on a TV show,” Szabo continues. “The brands know music can help set the vibe for their commercial, but now artists are embracing it – that’s the big shift.”

Brands and artists both recognize the value of music-platform data, creating a mutually beneficial relationship where each helps increase the other’s stock. As time goes on and technology becomes more sophisticated, more personalization and refined targeting will eventually follow.

Jack Krawczyk, director of product management at Pandora, believes that because no two users are the same, no two users should have the same experience.

“The advertising world has been built on the concept of advertising toward a synchronized user experience,” Krawczyk says. “Personalization drives us away from a world of one size fits all into a world where I experience things that are truly reflective of who I am as an individual.”

Homepage image via Shutterstock.

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