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Spotify Advertising Week Pandora

Spotify and Pandora CMOs sound off on engaging with millennials and Apple Music


By Minda Smiley, Reporter

September 29, 2015 | 3 min read

Pandora and Spotify have both welcomed the emergence of Apple into the music streaming sector.

Sharing a stage at Advertising Week New York, chief marketing officer of Pandora Simon Fleming-Wood and chief marketing officer of Spotify Seth Farban discussed Apple Music, how their services differ, and using data to improve user experience.

Farban said that competing against Apple, which he called the “world’s largest company and one of the greatest brands of all time,” helps sharpen Spotify.

“What’s a better competitor than Apple?” he said. “Apple is helping us validate streaming as the future of the music industry.”

Fleming-Wood highlighted the fact that Apple Music’s recent launch marks the second time in three years that the company has launched a competitive music service, the first being iTunes Radio. He said that while iTunes Radio was more of a direct competitor to Pandora than Apple Music, the service suffered no long-term impact.

The two also touched on the fact that Pandora and Spotify are complimentary as businesses, with Spotify being an on-demand platform while Pandora is disrupting the traditional radio business.

In terms of on-demand offerings, Fleming-Wood said Pandora has not gone down that path because there is a lot of opportunity in the path that it is already on.

“Ten per cent of radio listenings come from Pandora, but that’s 90 per cent of the radio market that we’re not,” he said.

In terms of monetization, he said that Pandora from the beginning set out to have an ad-supported strategy, whereas Spotify bills itself as more of a subscription-based service.

Both platforms have used numerous forms of data – including gender, age, and music preferences – to try and serve their audiences, particularly millennials, the content and advertisements they’d like to see, which also helps personalize the experience.

“The depth of the data is almost mind boggling,” Farban said.

He said Spotify recently did a marketing experiment where they showed users the ”power of the music fan and their ability to have an impact on an artist’s life,” where users were able to see how their listening behavior helped lift lesser-known artists to star levels.

“Whether it’s in the physical world or otherwise, access and exclusivity at times are really important. You want to be able to give something that people feel like they couldn’t get elsewhere,” he said.

Pandora employs similar strategies, giving its users tickets to events that listeners would not have access to otherwise.

Spotify Advertising Week Pandora

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