Spotify brand strategy / positioning case study

Spotify Brand Strategy Analysis

Media & entertainmentstreaming services

Owner of the brand:
Spotify Technology S.A.

Key competitors:
Tidal, Deezer, PandoraApple Music, Amazon Music, Google Play Music, YouTube

Brand essence

Unlocking the potential of human creativity and providing the right music or podcast for every moment.

Brand values

Music, creativity, accessibility, convenience.

Brand character

Trendy, young, fun, humorous, human, for everybody.

Dominating archetype

Spotify, despite its iconic status, is a relatively new brand. It was founded in 2006 and officially launched in 2008. In the first 10 years of its existence, it managed to reach the list of the 100 most valuable global brands[1] and became to the millennial audience what MTV used to be to the late gen ‘x’ers in the 1990s – the ultimate music destination, a place where everything revolves around the music. In recent years, Spotify has expanded its scope of business to also include podcasts and is now one of the biggest podcasting platforms in the world[2].


Spotify sees its corporate mission as “unlocking the potential of human creativity – by giving a million creative artists the opportunity to live off their art and billions of fans the opportunity to enjoy and be inspired by it”[3]. In consumer-facing communication, the Swedish brand takes a more light-hearted approach. Understanding that music and podcasts accompany people wherever they go and whatever they do, Spotify positions itself as a soundtrack to their lives – a service with millions of tracks and hundreds of thousands of podcasts. It describes its proposition as “the right music or podcast for every moment”[4].


The last time Spotify went through a rebranding process was in 2015. The transformation of the visual identity was designed to change the perception of the brand. First of all, Spotify wanted to emphasize that it’s a music and entertainment brand, not a tech company. Secondly, it wished to show its audience that the brand and the Spotify experience are as rich, energetic and lively as the music the service offers[5]. At a more tactical level, Spotify felt the previous look was outdated (in particular the shade of green it was using) and there were too few brand and creative assets available.[6] The team working on the new Spotify’s look wanted to convey the feeling a person experiences, when listening to the song he or she loves, which the company defined as an “emotional burst”[7]. The inspiration for this idea came from the video[8] of a baby cheering up while listening to one of Katy Perry’s songs[9].


Spotify’s communication centers around the data the company has collected so far, in particular which songs people listen to in various moments and playlists they create on different occasions. The company translates this data into creative ideas such as: “Year in music”, “Taste Rewind” (a functionality showing what songs people would have liked in the previous decades based on their current taste), geo-targeted banners exploiting popularity of specific artists in selected areas and humorous ads (e.g., “Moving”[10], “Never Ending”[11] or “Nuns”[12]). Seth Farbman, Spotify CMO told Ad Age: “Data has been, and will be, a big part of our storytelling[13].


Spotify’s advertising proves that product messaging can be delivered in an emotional and highly engaging way. The company mainly communicates its wide selection of music, ease of use, accessibility (“on your phone, your computer, your tablet and more”[14]) and new product features (e.g., Premium for Family or personalized pet playlists).



Unlike Tidal, its more premium and serious competitor, endorsed by many famous artists, focusing mostly on the audio quality, Spotify builds a more human brand image. It uses a fun, humorous and light-hearted tone of voice, underlines mostly its entertainment values and celebrates the spontaneous bursts of emotions awoken by  good music – an approach typical of a Jester brand.

Most important campaigns

1. “Only You: Lil Nas X” (2021)

2. “Introducing Spotify Premium Duo” (2020)

3. “Chase” (2018)

4. “Play This At My Funeral” (2017)

5. “Dinner” (2017)

6. “This Is Spotify Running” (2015)


Official brand statement:

Our mission is to unlock the potential of human creativity—by giving a million creative artists the opportunity to live off their art and billions of fans the opportunity to enjoy and be inspired by it.[15]

With Spotify, it’s easy to find the right music or podcast for every moment – on your phone, your computer, your tablet and more.
There are millions of tracks and episodes on Spotify. So whether you’re behind the wheel, working out, partying or relaxing, the right music or podcast is always at your fingertips. Choose what you want to listen to, or let Spotify surprise you.
You can also browse through the collections of friends, artists, and celebrities, or create a radio station and just sit back.
Soundtrack your life with Spotify. Subscribe or listen for free.

Interesting facts:

Millions of songs from Spotify’s catalogue have never been played. Forgotify is a service (unrelated to Spotify) which is on a mission to “give them new life in new ears”[17].

Spotify was in advanced talks to acquire SoundCloud. It has abandoned the plans though, as it didn’t want to incur new costs before its IPO.[18]


1. Adweek on Spotify’s personalized pet playlists
D. Cohen, “Spotify Rolls Out Personalized Pet Playlists, Debuts My Dog’s Favourite Podcast”, Adweek, Jan 2020,

2. Interview with Alex Bodman, Spotify Global Executive Creative Director
K. Richards, “Spotify Creative Shares How The Brand Came Up With Its Latest Witty Work”, Adweek, May 2018,

3. Interview with Spotify’s CMO, Seth Farbman
M. Morisson, “How Spotify Harnesses Data To Connect With Its 75 Million Users”, Ad Age, Mar 2016,

4. Fast Company on Spotify’s new branding
L.Tischler, “Spotify Unveils A Bold New Brand Identity”, FastCoDesign, Mar 2015,



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