Mixtape Illustration

Spotify: Fostering Emotional Bonds Through Human Orientation

Mixtape Illustration

Ever experienced the thrill of making a mixtape for your crush? Or for those who haven’t had the experience, maybe you watched it in a movie like “The Perks of Being a Wallflower”?

From the era of our parents, communication through music has been a common alternative because it has always been a way of expression and socialization, especially among couples. But as radios and cassette tapes became outdated, this behavior evolved from analog habits to digital media. Nowadays, radios are no longer in the picture, but we have plenty of digital music platforms that are even more convenient to use. Out of the many well-known names, Spotify always takes the number one spot in the digital music platform market. In this year alone Spotify holds a market share of 30.5% as seen through the 2023 report from the International Music Summit (IMS).


But what exactly makes Spotify always comes out on top?

Illustration of Spotify Sits on High Chair and Wears a Crown

When you hear the name Spotify, I bet you instantly think of a vast music collection, personalized music, and social activities. Am I right? If so, that’s what we’re going to talk about today.

For a brand as big as Spotify, which is said to have revolutionized the music industry, the first thing that needs to be done is establishing its brand identity, or branding. Branding is crucial as the foundation of a brand in the global market competition. Strengthening the roots through prepositioning and defining the target market should be done because this identity will define the direction in which our brand will move forward.

However, achieving this can be challenging if the brand does not understand user behavior. In branding, understanding human behavior is essential to create a brand that feels close and has an emotional connection with its users. Building an emotional connection between the brand and users aims to make people loyal to the brand and become brand ambassadors who promote the brand to others, even without any marketing endorsement efforts.

Now, Spotify understands that music is a means of expression and communication for many people. These two aspects have been the foundation of Spotify’s identity from the start and have been implemented through its features and marketing strategies.

As a means of expression, Spotify offers personalized music, so each account contains songs that match the user’s taste. This personalized system not only makes users feel understood but also provides recommendations for music they might not have known before but would probably enjoy. Spotify actively provides its users with the experience of “this is what you don’t know you need” through its recommendations.

Illustration of a man and a woman interact with each other and show Spotify

As a communication medium, Spotify thrives on its social activities that allow users to interact with each other. Users can engage “through” music, for example, using the Spotify Sessions feature. This feature enables users to listen to songs simultaneously even from a distance. There are also public playlist features that can be searched directly in the search bar, mutual following features where users can follow each other’s accounts and see their friends’ music activities, and the “Wrapped” feature that provides statistics on the music listened to throughout the year.


Fostering Emotional Connection

With the orientation on human aspect, human connection, and human emotions, Spotify plays with storylines to convey its message to users. Storytelling is the crucial effort in branding to build an emotional connection. For example, in its marketing campaigns, Spotify reminds users about the availability of public playlists that can be accessed anytime. Moreover, the messaging can be tailored to match the listener’s needs, such as recommending ballad playlists for comforting sadness, energetic playlists for workouts, and lo-fi playlists for study.

Illustration of a man screams, "Gua punya Spotify!"

As an impact of this connection is the often-seen expression on social media, like, “Maju lo nice try! Gue gak takut, gue punya Spotify!” As context, “nice try” is a term known on social media to express that one’s crush does not reciprocate their feelings. So, the expression means that even if users’ love interest rejected them, they can still turn to Spotify to be sad in their private space accompanied by music. This shows that through personalization, Spotify appears to understand and cater well to the user’s emotional preferences, and the users have the same impression of it.

To highlight this significance, Spotify is on point with its attempt in building emotional connection as we can observe at how its users perceive it in the manner it desires.

Other thing also can be seen in how users are reluctant to leave the musical “environment” that has been formed. This, in turn, makes them less likely to consider switching to other platforms.

Another notable aspect is the proliferation of third-party websites offering Spotify’s statistical algorithms that can be accessed anytime. Users can share their music preferences at any time. This is different from Spotify’s official Wrapped statistics which are only released once a year. Some examples of these websites include Receiptify, Judge My Music Taste, and others. Although it is not directly related to Spotify’s efforts, but it can also be identified as a way of communication and a form of social interaction that strongly aligns with Spotify’s values.

The last point to note is the importance of consistency. A strong identity and targeted storytelling are difficult to maintain without consistency. For at least a decade, Spotify has been leading the digital music platform market, and from the beginning until today, it has remained true to its core values.

Now, are you inspired by Spotify’s brand development? If you’re interested in building your own brand, our team at Orkha can definitely assist you with it!

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