Spotify Launches On-Air Ad Campaign — Sans Music

Posted March 25

Music subscription service Spotify is primed to enter the mainstream media sphere with the launch of its first-ever U.S. ad campaign, however — in the hustle and bustle of commercial-creating — it seems as though they forgot the music.

Back in 2009, Spotify launched its first commercial in Sweden, with the band Lucky Elephant scoring the simple spot with their delicate jam, “Edgar.” Now, Spotify is breaking into the U.S. ad scene with a more conceptual commercial — featuring a fan crowdsurfing across a sea of hands, a voiceover pontificating on music all the while.

The ad, which is the first in Spotify’s “For Music” campaign, will debut tonight during the premiere of NBC’s The Voice, but you can watch it right now in this post — along with a cadre of other ads in the series. Take a peek and let us know your initial response. Ours is: Where is the music?

Sure, there’s some ambient droning up in there, but no tangible, identifiable song to speak of. The move seems odd for a company that almost always has bands present at its launch events — from Fun. to Frank Ocean.

When asked why the spot lacks tunes, Neil Heymann, Group Creative Director of Droga5 (who created the spot) replied: “We wanted each spot to connect with as wide an audience as possible and speak to the timelessness of music. Music is such a personal experience for all of us –- we knew that no one song would resonate as strongly with people as the song that comes to mind as they watch these films.”

Fair enough. But Spotify is seriously missing out on an opportunity here: To be an advocate for jams in a mainstream realm — ala Apple. Remember those Apple iPod commercials, which, famously, featured up-and-coming bands like The Ting Tings, Jet and Feist? Those spots had a legitimate effect on the careers of those bands, helping them gain access to new audiences and spots on the Billboard charts.

Commercials — and TV placement — can be a huge stepping stone for a band. If you don’t believe us, just ask Alex Clare (a.k.a. that dude who wrote the song that was in the Internet Explorer commercial).

Again, we get that Spotify is aiming for a wide audience here, but the same could have been accomplished by flying the flag for a cadre of talented, under-the-radar artists. Put a jam out there, get people excited about it, impel them to head to your service and check out still more tunes. That’s the joy of music discovery. And that’s an experience everyone can understand.