Music Streaming Services Are Using Paid Social Campaigns To Stand Out

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Photo by Omid Armin

BrandTotal marketing data from [June 5 - August 5, 2020] was analyzed, with a focus on music streaming services’ usage of paid social campaigns.


Music streaming services accounted for nearly 80% of all music revenue in 2019, with revenues growing to $8.8 billion.

Well-known brands in this arena include SiriusXM, Pandora, YouTube Music, Amazon Music, Apple Music, iHeart Radio, and Spotify.

Spotify in particular has been in the news recently, as it has been acquiring a number of influential podcast properties including Joe Rogan, Kim Kardashian West, and DC Comics/Warner Bros.

BrandTotal Key Insights

In terms of usage of paid social campaigns, the following key insights were noted:

Campaigns were mainly targeted at the 25-34 age bracket, followed by the 35-44 and 45-54 brackets. Only 10% of campaigns were targeted at those aged 18-24.

Spending rose steadily over the period analyzed. In terms of spending peaks and specific brands:

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SiriusXM: in late June the brand’s Facebook dark campaign around its offer around in-home streaming had a high number of views. 81% of SiriusXM ads were dark. 

iHeart Radio: there was an increase in sponsored impressions around the beginning of July, coinciding with iHeart Radio’s 4th of July campaign on Twitter. 

YouTube: YouTube’s own efforts led the category to a peak in mid-July. This was driven by its dark YouTube ad “A new music streaming service”. 32% of YouTube ads were dark. 

Spotify: 50% of Spotify ads were dark. Spotify’s paid social media campaign spending saw two peaks, one in mid-July, driven by its Mt. Joy campaign, and one at the end of July coinciding with its promotion of Dope Labs, both being Facebook dark campaigns.

Notable Campaigns


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Pandora’s Reba McEntire campaign had over 14m views and 53k likes. A similar Pandora ad focused on promoting Dolly Parton’s new album, “For God and Country”.

Amazon Music

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Amazon Music also chose to promote an artist, this time in the form of a mini-documentary around Alanis Morissette and an option to “[RE]DISCOVER Alanis Morissette on Amazon Music”. This is part of its [RE]DISCOVER campaign featuring the likes of Queen, Bryan Adams, and others.


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Spotify also adds to the theme of nostalgia and highlights its playlist offering with this ad promoting previous summer hits. The ad had over 700k views.

Apple Music

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Apple also showcases its playlist capabilities, this time in the form of a WAM (We Are Messengers) playlist featuring the band’s top hits.

Amazon Music

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Departing from the theme of throwbacks and rediscovery, Amazon Music highlighted Katy Perry’s new song in this dark Instagram campaign.

Music streaming services and paid social campaigns

Music streaming services are using paid social media campaigns to attract users by highlighting their differentiating factors; from the artists hosted to features like curated playlists.

Want more data about this?

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