TicketManager | Predicting the Future of Spotify’s Live Event Foray

Spotify recently unveiled its Live Experiences program, designed to attract brands and grow revenue by offering concerts and cultural gatherings to corporate partners for the first time.

It is not surprising that the digital music platform has embarked on an effort to produce live event sponsorship opportunities. The question is: What took so long? Especially given that Spotify has been hosting similar events for years, and its own brand has had major success as a sponsor, most notably its partnership with FC Barcelona.

The company’s head of experiential and content production, Keyana Kashfi, told Adweek that Live Experiences will consist of five to 20 free-to-attend events in its first year.

The series had a soft launch in February with a FanDuel-sponsored Super Bowl Weekend VIP party in Las Vegas featuring performances by Kid Cudi and Calvin Harris. It made its official debut Easter weekend in Chicago with the two-day Fresh Finds Live powered by Samsung Galaxy new-artist showcase.

It’s likely that marketer demand will be high for future Spotify events. Marketers have traditionally looked to media companies and other advertising platforms to provide experiential opportunities in addition to the spots and dots of media buys. The siren song of one-stop shopping can be difficult to resist.

And Spotify has a seven-year track record of producing buzzworthy happenings, mostly around tentpole events such as The Grammys, CMA Fest and Cannes Lions.

But if Live Experiences is to have staying power in the battle for brand attention and sponsorship budgets, it will need to be marketed and executed as more than just a value add to an advertiser’s Spotify buy. (Wisely, the company says it will not sell event sponsorship a la carte to brands that do not make an “on-platform” commitment.)

If Spotify leans into its experience on the sponsor side of sports partnerships and includes meaningful benefits and activation platforms beyond branding at its events, Live Experiences will exponentially improve its chances of meeting whatever revenue goals it has.

The series appears to be off to a good start in that direction, as Fresh Finds Live featured an immersive experience demonstrating the noise cancelling ability of Samsung Galaxy Buds, among other activations.

But the true test of whether Spotify can become a sustainable sponsorship property that offers real value to brands may lie in its ability to unlock first-party data on its event attendees to provide actionable insights to partners, in line with the mutual data sharing at the heart of its Barca partnership.

When advertising platforms see events as merely an add-on to media buys, their success (if any) is typically short lived. Here’s hoping Spotify will capitalize on its chance to change that paradigm and secure real ROI for itself and its brand partners.