508 Final Project 
(Spotify Upcoming Audiobook Service)

Babatunde Afolabi

USC Annenberg, University of Southern California

Professor Toya Holness

PR 508: Public Relations and Advertising Fundamentals and Strategy

Since 2008, Spotify has grown tremendously to become one of the leading audio streaming platforms worldwide. Two Swedish entrepreneurs, Daniel Ek and Martin Lorentzon, founded Spotify as a start-up. Today, it has more than 381 million active users in 184 countries across five continents. Spotify offers its users various music and podcast options in multiple languages and genres. Users can choose between two main subscription options, premium or ad-supported streaming, and 90% of Spotify’s revenue is from premium subscriptions.
Spotify’s features allow users to create playlists, listen to them from different devices, and share them with other subscribers. Moreover, its advanced AI system uses algorithms to create personalized collections for users based on their listening history. All Spotify users have access to 70 million tracks ranging from the latest music drops, podcast titles, and exclusive albums and shows. Premium subscribers enjoy music online and offline ad-free with unlimited skips (Spotify, 2021).
The sublime user experience, exclusive music and podcast selection, and variety of options allow Spotify to stand out among its rivals — Apple Music, Amazon Music, YouTube Music, and Google Music. Currently, Spotify is surpassing its rivals with a 32% share of music streaming subscribers worldwide. Meanwhile, Apple Music is the second-most dominant platform with 16% as Amazon Prime Music follows close behind with a 13% share (Music, 2021). After conquering the podcast world in 2018, Spotify is gearing up to invade the audiobook industry and compete with giants such as Audible, Scribd, Google Play Books, and Audiobooks.com.
Spotify’s mission statement: “To unlock the potential of human creativity—by giving a million creative artists the opportunity to live off their art and billions of fans the opportunity to enjoy and be inspired by it” (“About Spotify,” 2021).
The mission statement above is tailored for external stakeholders and it does not represent Spotify's ultimate business/economic goal. A revised statement could be something along these lines: “Maintain and grow Spotify’s market share globally to maximize its shareholders' returns by being the number-one audio platform for both audio creators and consumers.”
To music and podcast lovers of all backgrounds, particularly young adults, Spotify is the innovative, hip, and inclusive entity that makes great and exclusive content accessible to everyone by enabling creators to connect with listeners among all audio streaming platforms. This is because Spotify constantly updates its unmatched array of offerings to users, fosters a lively and harmonious community of creators and listeners, and provides a personalized experience for everyone involved.
In 2015, Spotify put the music subscription service world on notice by introducing podcasts to its repertoire of features. This move signalled Spotify’s intention to dive into the thriving podcast market, challenge competitors like iTunes who already offered this kind of content to subscribers, and elevate its status as an innovative leader within its industry. It comes as no surprise that the addition of podcasts proved fruitful for the streaming platform. Currently, Spotify offers 3.2 million podcasts, compared to 185,000 in 2018, and it has vaulted into the number one spot in regard to U.S. podcast listenership (Perez, 2021). These figures lend themselves to Spotify’s proactive nature and ability to adapt to an increasingly competitive streaming service landscape. 
Now, fast-forward to 2021, and the pervasiveness of audiobooks within the streaming world and the minds of consumers are only growing as each day goes by. In particular, Americans are gradually straying away from paperbacks and hardcovers to take advantage of the increased accessibility, easy-listening experience, and convenience that audiobooks offer. Consequently, the audiobook market has witnessed 10.6% growth per year since 2016, and its total revenue for 2021 is expected to close in on $1.1 billion (“Lend Me Your Ears… The Rise of Audiobooks in Recent Years,” 2021). Meanwhile, the audiobook industry is currently worth $3.3 billion, and this number is projected to increase to $15 billion by 2027 (Wright, 2021).  
So, it makes sense that a streaming giant like Spotify would follow up on previous groundbreaking moves and take the initiative to involve itself in the flourishing audiobook market. With the growth of competitors like Apple Music and Amazon Prime Music, along with the successes experienced by services such as Audible, Scribd, and Google Play Books, Spotify is preparing to announce its plans to acquire popular audiobooks company Findaway and expand on its already ample selection of content. As a brand that prides itself on its propensity to “change the game” and cater to a diversity of subscribers’ tastes and interests, Spotify must capitalize on this opportunity with a plan rooted in strategy and calculated action. As a result, the implementation of a communications campaign is warranted to provide exposure to Spotify’s upcoming announcement, properly engage with current and potential subscribers, and generate continual hype and publicity before, during, and after the actual addition of audiobooks to the platform in 2022.
The research that Spotify needs to conduct centers itself on gauging the attitudes, opinions, and expectations of current and potential target audiences. This information is rooted in their perceptions of the Spotify brand and its relevance to emerging markets and trends in the United States. At the same time, it’s important for Spotify to analyze its position within the audio streaming service industry and other factors that might influence the direction of the campaign. 
Using primary research methods, Spotify can adequately address its inquiries about target audience perceptions of the Spotify brand and its competitors. First, Spotify can use a qualitative research method by drawing information from focus groups, as they are effective in obtaining practical feedback and gaining insight. In this case, Spotify can organize focus groups consisting of current Spotify users, people who regularly listen to audiobooks, people younger than 35 years old, and any other audience segments as seen fit. Preferably, these focus groups would take place in major cities in the United States, like New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago. These settings would set the framework for diverse sets of attitudes, opinions, and perspectives while also focusing on areas where the use of audio streaming and audiobooks are most likely to be prevalent. These focus groups would revolve around target audiences’ perceptions toward the characteristics of the Spotify brand, Spotify’s decision to add audiobooks to its platform, established competitors like Apple Music and Amazon Prime Music, and newfound competitors like Audible and Scribd. For instance, a key takeaway from every focus group could be that target audiences believe that Spotify’s addition of audiobooks lines up with its innovative brand persona and that Spotify would gain appeal and needed leverage against its competitors with this move and an engaging communications campaign.
Next, Spotify can use a quantitative research method by employing surveys to measure target audience perceptions of the Spotify brand and their opinions of audiobooks and Spotify’s competitors. For example, Spotify can target users on its platform by providing an online survey linked to its homepage. Since the survey could only be accessed through the Spotify platform, this research method would elicit responses from the target audience of current Spotify users specifically. Questions about the levels of brand recognition, customer loyalty motivations, and attitudes towards audiobooks and Spotify’s competitors would serve as the foundation for these surveys. Some key takeaways here could be that Spotify evokes strong brand recognition among its user base and customer loyalty to the brand corresponds positively with the potential addition of audiobooks as it appeals to the interests of users and differentiates Spotify from its competitors. 
Secondary research:
The audiobook market has witnessed 10.6% growth per year since 2016 (“Lend Me Your Ears… The Rise of Audiobooks in Recent Years,” 2021). In addition, the audiobook industry is currently worth $3.3 billion, and this number is projected to increase to $15 billion by 2027 (Wright, 2021).
In the United States, people aged 25 to 34 are most likely to listen to audiobooks, representing 20% of all audiobook listeners. Meanwhile, 48% of all listeners are under the age of 35 (Gaille, 2018).
Audiobook listenership is greater among women than men. Also, audiobooks are more popular with college graduates, urban dwellers, and affluent adults (Perrin, 2021).
29% of Spotify users are millennials, 26% are younger than 24 years old, and more than half of the user base is younger than 35 years old (Hlebowitsh, 2021). 
80% of American consumers state that they’re more loyal to brands that continue to uncover new ways of maintaining relevance in their lives (“The Key to Spotify's Brand Relevance: They're Customer-Obsessed,” 2016).
Spotify users tend to go to the movies more often than the average onliner (61% vs 42%) according to “Digital music: Spotify in the United States 2021 Brand Report” by Statista.
Spotify users remember seeing ads on social media more than the average onliner (Statista, 2021).
Spotify users tend to follow people on social media more than the average onliner (Statista, 2021)
51% of Spotify users state that they want the best audio and cinematic experience (Statista, 2021).
46% of Spotify users like to try out innovative products (Statista, 2021).
89% of Spotify users consume media via television (Statista, 2021).
Brand recognition & reach: Spotify has 44.2 million monthly users, second in the U.S. only to Apple Music with 44.5 million monthly users (Statista, 2021).
Innovation: Spotify is constantly adding new features and products that are well-liked by its users, like its launch of Spotify Wrapped in 2016
Brand loyalty: Spotify’s users will stick by the brand as according to a 2018 report, 92% of Spotify users planned to either “keep using the service as much as they are now or actually up their usage,” higher than all other music streaming platforms. 
Spotify pays its artists less than other streaming platforms. As of 2019, it would take an artist over 336k streams to earn U.S. minimum wage compared to 177k streams on Tidal (Statista, 2021).
Spotify has high costs as in 2020, “In 2020, 74.42 percent of Spotify's revenues went mainly towards royalty payments towards music rightsholders and other fees.” (Statista, 2021). 
Spotify is heavily reliant on users having an internet connection and without one, users have little to no way to interact with the app.
As artificial intelligence continues to develop, Spotify can build on its well-liked personalized features like custom playlists, suggested artists, and suggested music for each user.
Spotify can introduce more video content to the app to compete with major players like YouTube and Facebook.
Spotify has room to grow in the audiobook market, where Amazon’s Audible thrives.
The artists’ rights movement can cause Spotify to pay more in royalties which could cut into its bottom line.
Data privacy issues have become a hot topic and data leaks have the potential to cause major financial harm to tech businesses like Spotify.
Close competition in the music streaming industry is a major threat as huge companies have billions of dollars to spend on innovating and marketing their platforms.
Spotify users are more “online” and in-tune with pop culture than the current consumer. They attend movies more and remember social media ads better than the general public. This means a digital campaign involving relevant pop culture elements could be effective. 
The demographics of Spotify users and audiobook listeners align closely. Around half of both Spotify users and audiobook listeners are under the age of 35, with about a quarter of Spotify users being under 24. We need to design a campaign that will play to the interests of a younger demographic.
Innovation and quality are very important to Spotify users. In communicating Spotify’s new audiobook service, we have to emphasize how Spotify's platform will give users a better experience than its competitors because of innovative technology.
Raise awareness about Spotify’s emergence into audiobooks.
Spotify must ensure that current users are aware of the addition of an audiobook feature. Spotify must also convince its users to start using the feature and to recommend the experience to their social circle.
Set Spotify apart from its competitors, influencing potential customers to switch loyalties. 
Apple Music and Audible are dominant audio companies. If Spotify can siphon its competitors’ users, the company will boost its market share, revenue, and brand prestige.  
Diversify the Spotify platform, thus creating an assorted user base.
As a company, you want to hedge your bets and enter different markets. Spotify’s emergence into audiobooks will open the door to users that would have never subscribed to the platform. Also, the addition of more features contributes more utility to the application. You would be less likely to unsubscribe from a platform that provides that much value.
By the first quarter of FY 2023, increase positive awareness of the Spotify brand among current users and audiobook enthusiasts. 
Spotify is in fierce competition with competitors like Apple Music. The addition of audiobooks will hopefully appeal to more customers from demographics that music alone could not reach.
By the first quarter of FY 2023, increase by 10% Spotify’s share of voice in the U.S.
Increasing Spotify’s share of voice within the U.S. context will confirm that customers are resonating with the new feature and provide a crucial step towards countering audiobooks and audio streaming industry competitors.
Within the third quarter of FY 2022, 10% of Spotify users actively use the audiobook feature.
Spotify already has a large user base to draw from. The company must market the audiobook feature to customers and make it appealing to them so they can use the feature concurrently with music. This communication objective would gauge the campaign’s effectiveness in attracting users to the new feature.
​​1. Current Spotify Subscribers:
The ultimate goal of this campaign is to raise awareness and interest in Spotify’s new audiobook feature. The campaign will primarily target current Spotify subscribers. Spotify already has a large number of premium subscribers, 172 million, and offering them an additional service like audiobooks will make using Spotify even more convenient. Moreover, Spotify’s loyal brand consumers would most likely be willing to switch from other audiobook services to Spotify. This will enable Spotify to achieve quick wins when the new service is first launched. The secondary target audience is audiobook enthusiasts. Targeting this segment by introducing Spotify's audiobook service will be the first step in tapping into the existing audiobook market (Best, 2021). Introducing Spotify’s audiobooks to this segment might highlight additional features or benefits that are lacking in other platforms. This potentially might make them reevaluate their current audiobook service and encourage them to explore Spotify’s new feature. Notably, most audiobook listeners in 2021 are using one or more of the following platforms: Audible, Google Play Books, and Scribd. 
Primary: Current Spotify Subscribers:
Adults between the age of 25– 34 years old:
In general, this segment will be the one most interested in audiobook services. A majority of this segment are professionals who live busy lives and listen to audiobooks instead of reading. Moreover, this segment represents the largest number of Spotify subscribers (Hlebowitsh, 2021).
Young adults between the age of 18 – 24 years old:
The second-largest segment among Spotify’s subscribers is young adults. Targeting this segment and tailoring specific key messages toward them will enable Spotify to leverage its large number of subscribers during the launch of the audiobook (Hlebowitsh, 2021).
Secondary: Audiobooks enthusiasts:
Adults between the age of 30 – 49 years old:
Audiobooks are particularly popular in this segment (Pew, 2019).
Young adults between the age of 18 - 29 years old:
This segment is the second-largest group of audiobook listeners (Pew, 2019).
In general, Spotify has a positive image. The brand led the music streaming industry in finding solutions to limit music piracy. Moreover, it’s the top choice for music listeners worldwide due to its unique, easy, and comprehensive user experience. In fact, Spotify overcame and recovered quickly from a few previous public relations crises such as its issues with Taylor Swift and Jay-Z regarding artists' royalties.
Even though podcasts were introduced to the platform in 2018 and Spotify announced its intention to add audiobooks in the near future, music streaming is what Spotify is known for. Spotify aspires to become the best one-stop shop for all types of audio content, offering music, podcasts, and audiobooks.
“The complete audio experience.”
Spotify wants to be the only audio platform you need. This will make the platform more attractive than Apple Music and Tidal. By having different types of audio capabilities, you will garner subscriptions from a plethora of different users. Spotify is attempting to be the premier audio brand thus meaning there has to be no need to have. 
“Bring your favourite stories to life with the audio capabilities of Spotify.”
Spotify must differentiate itself from other audiobook brands like Audible. The best way to do this is by highlighting how Spotify has a competitive advantage when it comes to audio quality. By implementing a high level of research development, Spotify has created technology that allows users to have a blissful listening experience.

Launch the campaign through three stages: Pre-launch, Launch, and Post-launch.
This progression would set the foundation for the tactics carried out during Spotify’s communications campaign. So, the pre-launch period would take place leading up to the addition of audiobooks on the Spotify platform, with a focus on cultivating awareness; the launch period would take place during the time of this addition, with a focus on boosting interest and engagement; and the post-launch period would take place during the time after this addition, with a focus on generating user conversion. 
Implement influencer marketing to increase brand salience.
Potential customers are more likely to subscribe to the Spotify platform if they know their favourite influencers are using or releasing content for Spotify. Having influencers, like Logan Paul, release an exclusive audiobook for Spotify will allow the company to reach a wider audience.
Highlight Spotify’s audiobooks service, including exclusive features, titles, and packages.
It’s important to provide audiences with accurate, comprehensive, and digestible information about Spotify’s new audiobook feature in order to further awareness and engagement surrounding the communications campaign. 
Utilize advertisements in movie theatres with an emphasis on bringing stories to life.
As the general public starts flocking to movie theaters again, this setting would be an ideal place to release a new campaign advertisement. The advertisement will emphasize the audio capabilities of Spotify, and express the notion that Spotify can bring their favourite stories to life.
Sponsorships (pop culture). 
The secondary research indicates that most Spotify users are Social Media savvy, in tune with pop culture, and like to watch movies. Thus, delving into this campaign's key messages through pop-culture outlets and famous figures will resonate with the majority of Spotify users— the primary target audience for this campaign.  
Retain Findways’ customers.
It’s important to retain Findways’ listeners during the Transitional phase by targeting them via special promotions and messaging. These listeners are considered as one of Findways’ assets and one of the acquisition perks.

Paid Media:
Television advertisement placements.
These advertisement placements would aim to disseminate the campaign’s messaging and boost interest among target audiences.
Advertisement placements during movie theater showings.
These advertisement placements would be featured leading up to specific movies being shown and they would target younger audiences (i.e. Before a Marvel movie, for which 54% of viewers are 18 to 35 years old).
Earned Media:
Send out a news release to reputable tech newsletters and blogs.
This news release would detail Spotify's audiobook announcement and what the new feature would entail. We chose to focus on tech newsletters and blogs as a way to target audiences most engaged by the technical information presented. 
Host a booth at tech conventions talking about the upcoming release of the audiobooks.
This tactic would provide a sneak peek into Spotify’s intentions to add audiobooks to its platform and the details about the feature itself. With tech conventions being the setting, we hope to raise awareness about Spotify’s upcoming addition among a tech-driven audience. 
National press media coverage of the campaign and Spotify’s audiobooks debut.
Coverage by notable and credible press media sources, primarily tech newsletters, leading up to and during Spotify’s audiobook launch. This tactic would offer free publicity and establish a running conversation surrounding the campaign.
Host an event at Harry Potter World at Universal Studios Hollywood with Emma Watson to celebrate the Harry Potter Books being added to the platform. 
We are choosing Emma Watson rather than Harry Potter’s author because of JK Rowling’s history of controversial statements. 
Will send out news releases to entertainment news outlets like Hollywood Reporter, Variety, etc. This will also be posted live on social media. Therefore, it also owned media.
Shared Media:
User-generated circulation of Spotify’s social media content regarding the campaign.
Spotify’s inclusion of #ListenAndLive in all of its social media content regarding the campaign would energize the capabilities of users to share this content with their networks and across the social media sphere.
Collaborate with famous and relevant podcasters through sponsorships:
Joe Rogan (The Joe Rogan Experience)
Sam Harris (Making Sense)
Alexandra Cooper & Sofia Franklyn (Call Her Daddy)
These specific people host the most popular podcasts exclusive to the Spotify platform. Their target audiences, typically younger populations who currently use Spotify, align with the target audience of this campaign, and so their support of the new audiobooks feature would hopefully boost interest and engagement among this demographic. 
Partner with popular podcasts that cover books, like Game of Thrones and Harry Potter, or mystery book podcasts to share information about the new audiobook service.
These podcasts have an audience that is likely to want to use Spotify’s new audiobook feature because they are already avid readers. The podcasters will make an announcement of the Spotify audiobook service during each of their commercial breaks and at the end of each podcast.
Owned Media:
Announce the acquisition of Findaway, an audiobook company, via a Spotify blog post.
This tactic would set the framework for Spotify’s role in conveying information about its addition of audiobooks to its platform.
Partner with George RR Martin in a video to announce the addition of upcoming audiobooks to the platform.
This video would be posted on all of Spotify’s social media pages, including Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter.
Publish an article about upcoming exclusive audiobook titles, via a Spotify blog post.
Again, this tactic would be carried out on Spotify’s blog. During the pre-launch period, Spotify’s blog would serve as the company’s medium for communication, announcements, and updates.
Email a newsletter announcing the new audiobook feature’s arrival date and what to expect.
This newsletter would be distributed to all Spotify users to maximize exposure and awareness of the upcoming audiobook feature
Instagram takeover with George R.R. Martin.
This collaboration would lead to increased use of the audiobook feature because Martin’s audience already reads Game of Thrones books, so they are more likely to listen to the audiobooks via Spotify  
Announce the release of the audiobook features via a Spotify blog post.
This blog post would have all the details on the upcoming feature including how to access it and the audiobooks available
Announce the release of the audiobook feature on all of Spotify’s social media pages, including Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.
This tactic would be centered around achieving maximum reach for Spotify’s release announcement to younger audiences, who most avidly use social media channels, and fans of Spotify who are most likely to follow its various pages. 
Push notifications are sent out to Spotify’s app users informing them that the new audiobooks feature is available for use.
This will maximize awareness of the new future and allow users to explore it with one click of the push notification
Email another newsletter announcing the arrival of the new audiobooks feature.
This newsletter will also include all the details of the feature, the audiobook list, and a link to access it
Referral campaign and giving Findaway users free Spotify trials, detailed via a Spotify blog post.
This campaign will give free Spotify trials to Findaway users and allow others to get free trials if a Findaway user shares a referral link with them. The details of the program will be laid out in this blog post on Spotify’s website.
Positive brand awareness statistics:
By utilizing social media listening tools and surveys, Spotify will measure positive brand awareness among current users and audiobook enthusiasts during the third and fourth quarters of FY 2022 and the first quarter of FY 2023. 
Spotify’s share of voice in the United States:
Spotify will gauge a potential increase in its share of voice in the U.S. by measuring the brand’s mentions on social media and various other media outlets versus the total number of brand mentions (Spotify’s and competitors’) during the third and fourth quarters of FY 2022 and the first quarter of FY 2023.
Spotify users actively using the audiobooks feature:
Using primary research methods and user engagement tools, Spotify will measure the amount of users that are utilizing the new audiobooks feature during the third quarter of FY 2022.
Chart showing key campaign milestones, start and duration of tactics
• Format: Use a graphic timeline (i.e. Excel, Word Table, etc.) as discussed in class 
January 2, 2020: Receive approval from shareholders, and upper management to implement Audiobooks to the platform
January 30, 2020: Begin creating an outline of strategy and tactics for the rollout
March 22, 2020: Begin primary and secondary research for the new platform
 May 20, 2020: Acquire an audiobook company with strong capabilities and an inelastic user base
 July 15, 2020: Start marketing for the new platform. An initial teaser will be released on a blog, then a tech convention.
November 17th, 2020: Start running ad campaigns for the new feature. Social media ads and a TV advert will be adequate.

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