Spotify in tune with its yearly gift from the PR gods

by Kelly Horn

Thursday, December 3rd, 2020

Once again the world gets wrapped up in the thrills of the best annual digital PR campaign

IT’s the most wonderful time of the year… 

Year in reviews, nobody does them quite like Swedish streaming giant Spotify, whose annual gift to consumers thrills, excites, and shocks in equal measure – all while hitting headlines and trending on social.

Not that I have the date in my diary, but it’s always a thrill to see who I’ve been listening to, my top artists, and feeling borderline shocked/ashamed of the amount of time I spend listening to music. 

Even on a day when vaccine purchases were announced and news of a rollout as early as next week, Spotify stole the show and still managed to grasp our attention in a way that other competitors just simply can’t match.

It’s the best use of data-led marketing, PR and communications going and annually delivers some of the most incredible results – guaranteed trending, hundreds of thousands of shares, and (when I last checked) 12,100,000 Google News results for “Spotify Wrapped 2020”.

What is Spotify Wrapped?

In essence, it’s a roundup of all of the music you’ve listened to over the year – broken down by genre, top artists, your favourite songs, and how many minutes you’ve spent listening.

In a series of story-style clips, Spotify gives you a personal insight into your song of the year, how many new artists you discovered, how many times you streamed a single song, how many podcasts you listened to etc.

This year Spotify added a little extra: quizzes asking users to guess their top artist and podcast (and a lot of extra data in general around podcasts, genres, and minutes listened).

The music giants also give out badges of honour to users – are you a pioneer for finding a song before everyone else did? 

It also tells you if you’re a true top fan – were you in Kanye West’s top 0.5% of listeners? (I didn’t think I was either).

Why is it so effective?

Spotify’s tone of voice is fantastic – something that’s always so important for brands. It’s a perfect combination of tongue-in-cheek, funny and witty, with quips like ‘The longest year may not be over yet… but your Spotify Wrapped is finally here’, or ‘Even in 2020, you still found new ways to grow”. 

It’s so instantly shareable. With its story-like set of short videos with contrasting bold colours, what’s not to love? Not to mention it gives you the option to directly share to your social channels. 

Spotify’s also gone a step further to make sure it engages those of us engrossed in 2020’s social media of the moment: TikTok.

It’s created a TikTok challenge, #2020Wrapped, encouraging people to show off their top 2020 genre – and leveraging some promoted ads and paid partnerships with top influencers (with 5 million views of videos with the hashtag as of the 2nd of December).

Not only is it shareable for users, who take to social in their droves to share/brag/expose their music interests and guilty pleasures, it’s a fantastic avenue for artists to share their successes and thank their fans.

The campaign also perfectly combines the PESO model: Paid, Earned, Shared, and Owned. 

Spotify paid for sponsored ads on social, earned a hell of a lot of media coverage revealing some of the year’s most-streamed songs, shared insights, tagged brands and retweeted fans throughout the day across the likes of Twitter, and used its own content (employee and customer stories, user-generated content thanking artists for helping them through a difficult year).


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It also partnered with podcast provider Acast to stream ads and formed a media partnership with The Guardian.

This year, the campaign recognised the industry and artists who’ve been hit hard by the pandemic with a theme of gratitude. The giant has invited fans and influencers to share reflections on 2020 and even partnered with the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) in the USA with a $500,000 donation to venues directly impacted by the pandemic shut down.

Music transcends demographics. With something appealing to all of us, there’s something in Wrapped that appeals to every consumer, regardless of age and interest – making it a perfect campaign with a worldwide, age-wide target audience. 

Yet again, Spotify blows all other competitors (mainly Amazon and Apple Music) out of the water with a genuinely excellent and engaging campaign which appeals to all of us.

For me, Wrapped holds the title yet again for the perfect digital and integrated PR package, tied up in a nice little bow to bring us all a lot of joy every December.

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    elly Horn of Edinburgh PR agency, Holyrood PR

    Kelly Horn

    Senior Account Executive, Kelly Horn, is a part of the award-winning PR agency, Holyrood PR - based in Edinburgh, Scotland.

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