What’s new on Spotify? Marquee, an advertising initiative that allows music labels and artists to promote their music on the streaming platform – at a price, of course. It’s 55 cents a click, but Spotify recommends a minimum ad buy of $5,000. For that price, you can expect to increase your stream count to at least 9,000 streams, or 9,000 potential listeners, over a seven-day period. At least, that’s what Spotify says.
Does Spotify’s Marquee tool mean that streams are now for sale? What if you don’t have the money for it as a struggling independent artist? How could this change the way listeners engage with the streaming platform? Let’s take a closer look at Marquee and what it means for artists, labels and listeners alike.
What Spotify Marquee offers labels and artists
Launched in 2019, Marquee is an ad system that lets artists and labels spend marketing money to “drive incremental streams” for their music. So how does it work? In a nutshell, you pay, and your music gets some pretty sweet exposure on the platform as full-screen pop-up recommendations for listeners. There’s no upper limit on how much you pay for promotional placements, so you can spend as much as you want.
While Spotify already offers artists and labels in-platform advertising, the streaming service says Marquee is a more effective tool, and early testers have agreed.
Spotify Marquee is said to have a wider reach, which means more listeners. The paid ads are shown not only to free users but subscribers as well. The click-through rate currently stands at 21.7 percent, plus users who receive a Marquee ad were found to stream 17 percent more than those who don’t.
Despite this, Spotify stresses that artists are not paying for streams. Spotify’s Senior Product Marketing Manager, Charleton Lamb, clarifies that listeners have the choice to engage or not.
What it offers listeners
You can expect to listeners to groan at yet another ad from Spotify, but according to Rolling Stone, it doesn’t appear to be that bad – the platform “will not bombard listeners with pop-up ads” each time you open the app. And if you’re more of a classical music listener, you won’t be getting Despacito pop-ups. Hopefully.
According to Spotify, the Marquee recommendations will still be based on a listener’s music taste, so the notifications will only be from artists they follow or frequently listen to. And probably from similar artists, if Marquee really promises a wider reach.
Spotify also puts a limit on the number of ads listers see, such as a single ad in a day or two in a week. The Marquee notifications, captioned “Brand New Music For You,” can be turned off if you’re a premium user and don’t want pop-ups any day of the week.
Concerns about Marquee
Rolling Stone notes two primary concerns about Spotify’s new marquee ad tool. First, Marquee makes the music business more consolidated. If you have the resources – say, the marketing money of the major label you’ve signed with – then you can afford to pay for play and get more listeners.
However, if you’re an independent artist who struggles to even earn $300 from streams, this means your music may have to stay in the background, away from the spotlight paid for by artists with means. Would you be willing to cough up (at least) $5,000 for a song or album promotion on Spotify?
The second concern is about Marquee’s cost-effectiveness. As with other ad tools, Marquee can’t really promise success in terms of getting more long-term listeners, unless everyone that receives the pop-up recommendations becomes instant fans. However, if your goal is simply to create awareness of your music, then Marquee sounds like a good tool for it.
What do you think of Spotify’s new ad tool? Share your thoughts!