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Understanding Your Audience: how Spotify memed their way into international success

Whether you are jamming down the streets of Commonwealth Ave or chilling to the beat of slow jazz, music has become a part of our everyday lives. Audio streaming services have allowed this all to happen, providing access to content at any time or place for you to listen to. These platforms also host a wide variety of options to choose from, from music produced by artists of various sizes to podcasts dedicated for subject matters all over the spectrum.


At the top of all the audio streaming services lies Spotify, a Swedish company that has quickly taken over the industry, boasting a tremendous premium subscribers count of 188 million and retaining a global presence. So, what can Spotify attribute their meteoric rise to international success? A large part of it is due to their deep understanding of their audience and leveraging social media tools.


Spotify used social listening and later implemented their findings in a couple of methods to engage their audience. What is social listening? Social listening is the act of tracking what is going on in social media and utilizing tools to analyze these trends. By understanding what content resonated with their audience, Spotify was able to come up with more effective strategies to grow their online presence and resulted in an increase of 18 million premium subscribers in 2015 to an impressive 188 million this year.


A strategy Spotify utilized was partnering with influencers to create campaigns for Spotify both as a service and also the artist themselves. This dated back to 2008 when Spotify first started. Spotify leveraged the pre-existing fan base of various artists and converted them into new users of their service, creating access to new consumer markets. Talk about a win-win! Since then, Spotify has regularly collaborated with influencers in creating more and more viral content, increasing their brand’s visibility across the globe.


A more recent example of how the company utilizes social listening would be Spotify’s usage of memes in staying relevant with their audiences. Memes are a universally understood way to connect with others and can be customized for each person’s preferences. By taking a consumer’s point of view of a topic and applying it in a way that is funny, well timed, and relevant, success can come in a matter of minutes. Memes were shared across social media platforms and solidified Spotify’s dominant position in the industry with younger age demographic consumers.



By effectively using social listening, Spotify was able to possess a deeper understanding of their audience and lead to their explosive growth in recent years. They were able to have a grasp of what would keep people engaged and excited about their offering. Everybody knows what Spotify is these days and will likely continue being a household name in whatever the future of audio streaming has in store for them.


Written By: Marcelo Wu

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