Streaming services have radically changed the way we consume music, and Spotify is at the moment the leader in that department. As noted, “Spotify claims 36% of the global streaming market. Its active users have been forecasted to increase from 217 million to between 245 and 256 million by the end of 2019. Reaching 100 million-mark of premium users, the giant in streaming has even surpassed its number one competitor, Apple Music.” Brands and businesses have quickly realized how useful Spotify can be for them if they place their ads through the service.
But, there are two other aspects in which businesses are seeing the benefits of using Spotify for business. One is for retail operations like stores and restaurants, the other is for business workspaces. The popularity of Spotify as a streaming service and the diversity flexibility of its playlists have quickly become evident for big industry retailers like Starbucks, Popeyes, Reebok, and BMW. But the popularity and the daily use of streaming services indicate that various business has started using the service in their workspaces.
When contemplating what Spotify for business can offer, it is good to know first how that aspect of their service works. Then, it is essential to make a plan of how any specific business can reap benefits from such a service.
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This post has been updated in August 2021.
Soundtrack Your Brand
Founded back in 2013 and located in Sweden as Spotify itself, Soundtrack Your Brand (SYB), is essentially Spotify for business. According to Crunchbase, it was formed as a Spotify joint venture, and is “the exclusive provider of Spotify Business and Spotify Enterprise”. The venture came about when quite a number of retail businesses started streaming Spotify’s ‘regular’ programming in their stores. At the same time, many individuals were streaming their favorite playlists through their personal playing devices at work.
According to its co-founders, the original idea for forming SYB was two-fold. “One was that it could help businesses with the tricky issue of making sure they are on the right side of the law when it comes to streaming music legally in public venues.” The second aspect was fuelled by mounting requests from companies for a business version of Spotify’s service. At the time, it was “a request Spotify could not accommodate while all of its focus was on growing its consumer business.”
This, of course, meant adapting the playlist service to general, as well as the specific needs of businesses. According to Andreas Liffgarden, one of the cofounders of SYB and former head of Spotify’s business development, “the power of being able to select and stream music not just at a single venue but across multiple locations remotely raises some interesting ways that this can be used.”
How does Spotify for business work?
Soundtrack Your Brand was certainly not the first service to offer streaming playlists to retail businesses. Muzak started the whole music streaming in public places as far back as the mid-thirties of the previous century. Although very useful and popular, many end-users have often encountered a number of problems.
The first was that unless the playlist was created by somebody very well versed in music, it could end up being patchy and uneven. Also, as many have found out themselves, creating a playlist can be a process that can take quite some time. The second was the inflexibility of playlists. Once they were set, they were not changed. The song order would remain the same. If the playlist was on more than once during the day or work hours, it could actually create an adverse effect.
As Liffgarden also noted in the above conversation, “when you are starting a company you always wonder what the market fit will be. It’s convenient that Muzak is what most businesses buy. Here, what we have for the first time we have a real-time is a platform to adapt music on the fly. Staff or customers can influence what is played — using an app for example — and you can adapt the music or playlist based on the crowd, the weather or more.”
Almost instant adaptability is one of the key factors SYB is relying on. The other is the ease of use of the system, which does not require detailed musical knowledge. The whole process is based on artificial intelligence algorithms that create any given playlist just on a few general inputs, like mood and style of music.
A particular element SYB is counting on is their specific business analytics. “This includes correlating data on what is played with what is paid.”
Optimizing Spotify for business – retail situations
If SYB, Spotify’s business-oriented subsidiary offers the possibilities listed above, two questions might arise. First, in which situations should you, as a business, use music playlists. The second would be how to optimize it for your specific needs. Quite a few studies were done on the aspects of music for business.
The use of music in retail situations might seem relatively straightforward. Still, maximizing its benefits does require some thought and planning. As Entrepreneur suggests, there are three general elements to pay attention to:
- Have a clear idea who are the target customers;
- Consider the suitability of products and offerings;
- Create specific playlist plans and strategies.
As far as creating playlists there are also five elements to have in mind:
- The melody should be in the background;
- There should be a balance between soft and loud music;
- Steer away from music that is too lively, unless it is a very specific situation;
- For answering services, pay attention to hold music;
- The music you choose should always have motivating elements.
Spotify itself uses the information about millennials as customers to give the example of using its service for business. They cite the following information:
- Diversity – Millennials stream every genre more than they stream their favorite genre. These listeners are 44% more likely to regularly inform friends and family about new products;
- Tilt – Millennials stream hands on more than they stream hands-off. These listeners are 64% more likely to buy brands they see advertised;
- Obsession – Millennials stream on repeat more than they stream on random. These listeners are 90% more likely to have the latest tech products.
Optimizing Spotify for business – workplace situations
As many as there are studies about the use of music in retail situations, there are almost as many of them about its use in the workplace. The one linked here found that three- quarters (77 percent) of “more than 1,000 small and medium business owners in the UK have found that music increases staff morale”. Fast Company also argues that there are situations that organizers should use music playlists during business meetings.
Yet there are other elements possible clients of Spotify for business should have in mind. If there is no central source of music in a working place, individual workers will tend to use their personal devices as a music source. On one hand, each and every one of them will play any music they wish. On the other, having earphones or headphones on might hinder interpersonal communication, which in some workplaces is essential.
Again, here Spotify for business offers, as they claim, 40 million tracks and 300+ curated soundtracks. Also, when planning what your business music requirements may be, Medium, Business Insider and Inc. suggest types of music that increase productivity. These all could be elements that you would need to consider when deciding about the use of music in the workplace.
Boosting business and productivity with music
As mentioned, the use of music in retail business or at the workplace, in general, is not a new thing. Still, the level of variation fluctuates, and so do the costs and effort. Spotify for business or Soundtrack Your Brand (the official name) says it is one of the viable solutions.
Based on all the elements of operation methodology, it offers one of the more flexible models available. Specifically, designed playlists that a client can modify himself can avoid repetitiveness and possible unsuitability in certain situations or surroundings.
The analytics suited for commercial needs may also be a factor that makes Spotify for business very suitable for the potential use of music in any type of workplace.
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