Oct 17, 2016

A Simple Simple Short Shot

Should you advertise on Spotify, Tidal, Apple Music or Google Play Music?

Here’s a quick rundown of online advertising options when breaking into the realm of streaming music.

Streaming services are taking over the music industry and as usual there’s a place for brands to get their name out there. Currently Tidal, Apple Music and YouTube Red are all subscription based services and therefore don’t sell advertising, but both Google Play Music and Spotify offer a ‘freemium’ version of their service supported by advertising.

Streaming music sites that don’t offer advertising:

  • Apple Music
  • Tidal
  • Groove (Xbox Music)

Spotify launched branded playlists in May of this year, giving companies like Kia and Carnival Cruise Lines (among others) an opportunity to align themselves with a genre or a feeling that goes with music in that list. The playlists can be sponsored for a week, and give the advertiser a chance to add more media to the campaign than just music: video advertisements, audio commercials and static banners round out the messaging in a sponsored playlist. Currently, 30 million of the 100 million users take advantage of the ad-supported version of the Spotify App.

Advertising on Spotify:


Google Music offers advertising integrated in their Google Display Network which includes text, video and image ads on a variety of desktop and mobile websites including YouTube, which they’ve owned since 2006, meaning any advertising can seamlessly be done across the board, managed through their network. Currently audio ads in the freemium version are reserved for a few large advertisers and there are no branded playlist opportunities.

Advertising on Google Music:

  • Text ads
  • Display ads
  • Remarketing
  • Campaign stats

So where do you belong? Like usual, it comes down to your budget. The Google Display Network gives smaller companies and brands a chance to have a presence for a few hundred dollars.  The other advantage to Google Music is the measurable engagement from clicks on banners and image ads. Spotify isn’t worth considering unless you’ve got $10,000 a month to spend on things like a Spotify takeover  or a branded playlist, but if you’ve got ten grand burning a hole in your bank account then calling a sales rep at the streaming site could pay off. The ROI is hard to measure, akin to radio or TV ads, but no less powerful.