Spotify, the world’s largest music streaming service, confronted the same realization every fast-growing tech company does: a great product wins early adopters, but a great brand wins the mainstream.
With Apple’s acquisition of Beats and Google’s heavy investment in marketing Google Play, the race was on to build the most beloved music streaming brand in the world. More focused on building a product than a brand, Spotify had never investigated positioning its product as a holistic offering.
The Millennial generation — Spotify’s target audience — is the most educated and connected generation in American history. They are intentional in their choices and daily routines. They expect a level of service from each and every single one of their carefully selected products and services. They want to be anticipated, whether they are on a run, studying, or dining with friends. They want an experience that can understand them and deliver as appropriate.
Our answer emerged directly from our strategic platform — when an individual makes a personal connection with a song, their reaction is to cry, cheer, scream, sing, jump, or get chills — or, as we phrased it, “burst” with emotion. Our identity graphically captured that moment.
We created a visual system to accurately reflect the soul of the Spotify brand, and extended that across all touchpoints — from the product, to communications, to environments, to a full-scale digital ecosystem.
We developed a consistent brand architecture and transformed the conceptual orientation of the organization from a technology platform to a music company, optimizing the Spotify customer experience at every step of their journey.
Since the introduction of our visual identity, and ostensibly against the odds, Spotify has become the market leader in music streaming and an international household name. As of 2019, they have over 200 million active listeners, with 96 million paid subscribers. That’s more than double Apple’s 40 million. Design Week named our work for Spotify some of the most globally defining to date.
Happily, our relationship with Spotify has lasted over four years now, and continues to this day. We have helped them define their brand architecture, set their strategy for moving into new markets like China and Japan, and create their artist-facing voice. Through expanding their visual identity system, they’ve clarified their owned content expression, as well as designed several high stakes experiential expressions of the brand, including product launches, and their IPO fundraising event.
This work continues to drive the visual expression of Spotify and, as such, music itself across the globe.
- Lee Maschmeyer
- Ben Crick
- Christian Widlic
- Gabe Benzur
- Brian Collins