Spotify aims to ‘moneyball’ business with the power of the millennial ‘snake people’

Music streaming giant Spotify wants to “moneyball” business using algorithms and the power of music tapping into the millennial market the same way maths experts changed baseball, the head of its business marketing arm has revealed.

With companies struggling to understand how to connect with the “snake people” – the elusive millennials demographic – Spotify global head of business marketing, Jeff Rossi, told Mumbrella 360 that the demographic had become overly complicated, being seen as “consistently inconsistent”.

Spotify aims to "moneyball business"

Spotify aims to “moneyball business”

“Marketing to millennials is really good press. It really is a really strong word,” Rossi said.

But he said that it was such a misunderstood segement, marketers could insert the phrase “snake people” when talking about millennials, treating them as if they were some bizarre other-wordly species.

“What has happened is we have created a distance between the people in this age group and the word millennials. These are people, mums, kids – they are just people.”

He said that the challenge was that people had so much access to different types and sources of content they were not the same throughout the day, but showed different elements of their personality that was the key to tapping into their mindset.

“(It) allows them to be different people at different points in the day which is really, really hard for a marketer,” he said.

“If I’m going for a run and someone starts talking to me about an alcohol brand, I’m not going to want to hear it. Conversley I wouldn’t want to hear exercising messages when I’m out with my friends having a good time at night.”

He said the time was ripe for data to be treated an entirely new way and music drove 15 times more data points than any other data source.

“We need to think about data in a new and exciting way,” Rossi said.

“Data and music can inform moods, mindsets and tribes better than any other media source.”

Spikes in song choice, and therefore marketing opportunities, could be driven by a whole range of events.

“When the royal baby was born we saw spikes in songs with the name Charlotte in them. We saw when Germany won the World Cup there was a spike in We are the Champions by Queen.”

He said access to this level of data was an opportunity to “Moneyball business” in the same way the Oakland A’s became a contender in baseball by choosing players based completely on statistics.

“We supplied data to music labels to moneyball the music industry,” he said.

The results were managers basing their choice of tour destinations for artists on the most fervent fan bases seen through Spotify.

The music service was also able to work with Justin Beiber to secure him his first number one hit by targetting his most fervent fans who would share his music widely.

“We want to help everyone really moneyballing the industry and using data sets you can unlock this new construct of streaming,” he said.

“The opportunity you have is large scale opportunity but  asmall scale level of targeting so we can actually see, for example, how many people made playlists with the word ‘shower’ in it. You can see who’s accessing, when they are accessing. You can see the kind of data people are accessing early in the morning, Monday to Friday.

Rossi said while content was a key data point, context was much stronger allowing marketers to time messaging and choose audiences with greater precision.

However, he admitted one challenge Spotify was still working on was the migration of ad supported audiences to the premium ad-free paid platform.

But even with audience migration, 70% of users at any time were accessing Spotify’s ad supported model.

“What we need to get better at understanding is what we are sitting on,” he said.



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