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Written by Ramsey Brown.
Music streaming giant, Spotify, is constantly making moves to innovate the platform and outshine its competitors. It seems like every time I open the app or read up on the latest music news, the company has yet again, launched a new tool or feature.
Beyond being the most popular music streaming service in the world, Spotify's success is largely due to its user-friendly interface and it’s many different artist-centric functions.
From their intelligent data that helps build the perfect audience marketing strategy, to playlisting features that aid in artist discovery, to in-app album artwork tools like Canvas, helping artists showcase their creative identity and standout on the platform.
These are just a few of Spotify’s many feature roll-outs over the years, but their latest initiative may be the most exciting of them all. Last year, the streaming service announced a new key marketing tool that helps artists promote their new releases — Spotify Marquee.
Spotify Marquee is an initiative that allows music labels and artists to promote their music on the streaming platform via full-screen, pop-up recommendations. When listeners open the app, an advertising, or ‘Marquee’ will appear on the screen to notify users of a new release from an artist they’ve previously showed interest in.
While Spotify already offers artists and labels in-platform advertising, the streaming service says Marquee is a more effective tool for helping turn listeners into fans of artists through way of their new releases.
When a listener clicks on a Marquee, they are guided to that artists’ new music — and their music only. This allows fans to focus solely on that one artist, discovering more of their music, not being distracted by the abundance of other content on the app.
In a nutshell, Marquee is the first direct on-platform promotional tool that gets your new releases in front of the right listeners — increasing exposure and activating your fanbase.
Marquee is said to be a halo effect for an artist’s entire body of work, Spotify says that people who see and stream a promoted Marquee release are much more likely to continue streaming the artist’s other releases as well.
The company quotes that “on average, more than 15% of people who see a Marquee stream from the promoted release within two weeks. And, their streaming doesn’t stop there — listeners who see a Marquee are more than twice (2.2x) as likely to save a track or add it to their personal playlists for future listening than if they hadn’t.”
These ads also have a wide reach, shown not only to free users but to paid subscribers as well. With an estimated 70,000+ artists uploading music to Spotify a day, that sort of focus and promotional tool is a huge benefit for artist on the platform.
Before you sigh at the fact that you are getting more ads from another platform, just know that Spotify’s pop-ups really aren’t as bad as they sound.
Listeners will not be flooded with tons of advertisements while they are streaming music on the app. In fact, the very occasional Marquee ads that do pop up will only appear when they user first opens up the app. So don’t worry, your music will never be paused or interrupted with an ad from Spotify Marquee.
Spotify has also put a limit on the number of ads users will see, it could be one single ad in a day or maybe two in a week. If you are completely against seeing any ads at all, the Marquee notifications (captioned “Brand New Music For You”) can be turned off completely, if you’re a premium user.
As previously mentioned, Marquee recommendations are based on a listener’s specific music taste. So if you do receive a notification, it will only be from artists that you follow or frequently listen to.
If Spotify’s promise to artists is true and Marquee really does reach wider audiences, users may also get ads from similar artists. Which in most cases, listeners have no problem being alerted that one of their favorite artists has just released a new track, or discovering new artists that are recommended to them based on their current music taste buds.
With that said, if you are rap and hip-hop head, you won’t be getting country music or EDM pop-ups on your feed. At least that is what Spotify alleges.
Although Spotify Marquee sounds great overall, there are some underlying concerns with the promotional tool that have been publicized throughout the music industry.
The first argument against Marquee is the overall expense to use the feature. Usage was initially limited to selected artists and labels, and there was a high minimum spend of $5,000 for a campaign. After receiving backlash for this, Spotify reduced their minimum Marquee campaign spend to $250.
However, Marquee operates via pay-per-click. Many reports have been released by artists that show previous Marquee campaign data. These reveal that Spotify is charging up to $0.50 per-click, per user to show fans new music.
At this extremely high price point, it closes off the feature to smaller independent artists that may be struggling to make a means from their music. While big label and big budget artists are able to take full advantage of Marquee, which results in less visibility for the smaller artists.
The second concern is about Marquee’s cost-effectiveness. As with other ad tools, Marquee can’t really promise success in terms of getting more long-term listeners, unless everyone that receives the pop-up recommendations becomes instant fans.
If your goal is simply to create awareness of your music and you have the budget to do so, then Marquee could be a good tool to do so.
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© 2023 Omari MC, LLC. All Rights Reserved.