Spotify eyes advertising; ups ante on creative work

Rachael Micallef
By Rachael Micallef | 25 February 2016

Spotify is making a renewed push into advertising, with its new global creative director hiring adland talent and meeting with local agencies to push adoption.

Australian Alex Bodman took up the role in October last year, from a position as group creative director at Razorfish in New York and already has ambitions to see more creative work on the platform.

“It's really started to frustrate me – in a good way – that there aren't more brands out there using our platform,” Bodman says.

“When strategists, planners and creatives sit down with a brief and they're looking to reach a millennial audience, they look at social platforms as they should, but they should really be looking at Spotify as well.”

“There are some brands doing great things, but I also think there is so much white space and potential to really create new benchmarks and new impacts.”

Bodman's first step will be bringing more creative talent into Spotify's ranks. Currently the internal creative team at Spotify is roughly 15 people but Bodman plans to build that out to well over 20 in the next few months, with a number of “interesting hires from agency land” in the works.

It follows Facebook's recent high profile moves into the creative space, both globally and locally, with the appointment of former DDB Melbourne planning director Tom Hyde in December last year.

“More and more we've seen this model of tech companies like Google and Facebook building creative capabilities internally,” Bodman says. “These tech companies are a culture of makers they're used to making things and products and innovate.

“Spotify is thrilled to work with agency partners but it also want the ability to have people who are living and breathing the brand who can ideate around it – from traditional communications to unexpected experiments.”

To push the idea of Spotify as a creative platform, Bodman, who is now based in New York, has been meeting with creative and media agencies in Australia, before taking his presentation to SXSW in March.

He says more creative solutions on the platform have might have been hindered by trial and error on the platform a few years ago, noting that enhancements including Spotify's acquisition of data platform Echo Nest has made brand solutions easier to access.

“When Spotify first came into some markets four or five years ago it was a bit of a 'shiny object'. Creatives were trying to come up with the 'Spotify' idea and no one really landed it and I think people grew a little bit disconnected,” Bodman says.

“I think only in the last couple of years has Spotify really figured out clever ways that we can use of platforms and it's also made lots of developments to its own products.

“Now it want to introduce to either creatives that have tried and and didn't quite get there a few years ago or fresh creatives that they've got more to play with than they once did.”

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