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Case Study: How Spotify's Unheard Playlist amplified the role of women in music

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Unheard playlist


This International Women’s Day, Spotify wanted to make a statement that would make people realise how women artists are integral to every music composition that comes out. WondrLab created a playlist on the platform with popular duet songs from across the country, with no female artist voice.

This case study explores Spotify's campaign, "Spotify's Unheard Playlist," which utilized creative playlists and influential voices to shine a spotlight on the indispensable role of women in the music industry.

Category Introduction

The music streaming industry has revolutionized the way people discover, listen to, and share music. With the rise of digital platforms, music lovers now have access to an extensive catalog of songs from various genres, artists, and languages at their fingertips. One of the prominent player in this space is the Spotify app.

Brand Introduction

Spotify, founded in 2006, is a leading global music streaming service that has shifted the way people listen to music. With its user-friendly interface and a comprehensive collection of songs, Spotify has become a household name, connecting millions of music enthusiasts worldwide. The app offers personalized playlists, curated recommendations, and a wide range of features that adapt to individual tastes and moods. 

Summary 

This international women’s day, to highlight the contribution of women to the music industry, Spotify in partnership with Sony Music -- put out a playlist that had around 18 popular songs from across languages, but without female vocals. This initiative sparked conversations across the industry and saw engagement across artist community, consumers and marketing fraternity across social media. 

Objective 

The objective was to connect with music listeners via our product and start a conversation through them on how integral women are to the music world. Spotify wanted to send out a message — a statement that would make people realise how women artists are integral to every music composition that comes out. The task was simple - leverage the Spotify platform to deliver the message. Additionally, unlike brands using social media as a default starting point, for Spotify, the starting point was their own product.

Brief 

Women artists are underrepresented in the Indian Music Industry. So, on International Women’s Day, Spotify wanted to highlight this. They wanted to design a product-led initiative on International Women’s Day and raise awareness about the contribution of women to the music industry. 

Also Read: Zara Hatke Zara Bachke movie marketing gets Vicky Kaushal and Sara Ali Khan to explore India’s culture

Creative Idea 

Wondrlab crafted the idea of leveraging the product by putting Spotify’s strength of playlists at the centre of it, and conceptualized the existence of ‘The Unheard Playlist’. The idea was to create an enhanced playlist on the platform with popular duet songs from across the country, with no female artist voice.



Enter Sony Music India. Spotify and Sony Music India brought alive a unique playlist on the platform, that at first seemed like a regular playlist, but as you give it a listen, you ‘hear’ the message loud and clear!

Challenges 

Given that the songs had no female vocals, without the context of why the platform did it, the playlist would have left the music listener perplexed. But with the aid of artists who weighed in on the message, Spotify was trying to embark on the challenge and quickly turn it into a conversation that took centre stage off the platform. 

Execution 

The agency identified popular duet songs across languages and removed the female vocals.

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In addition to that, they leveraged the Spotify feature of an enhanced playlist. They added short video byte from various artists, who weighed in with their point of view on the unheard playlist, re-emphasising the importance of women voices in the music industry. 

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When listeners tuned in, they were perplexed with what they heard - a playlist where the female vocals were muted from popular duet songs across Hindi and other regional languages.

As the listeners were left wondering what they had just heard and the message was revealed by top Indian women music artists like Asees Kaur, Shweta Mohan, Sanah Moidutty in the form of a video where the artists themselves spoke to the listeners, explaining that not only does a song sound strange without the woman’s voice, but the music industry itself is incomplete without women voices. They urged listeners to hear women artists, share their songs, support them and make them ‘heard’.

The Unheard playlist campaign by Spotify was also shared on social media.

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Results 

While the intent was to give the message out via the product at its core, artists and influencers also took to social media to share their thoughts on The Unheard Playlist, and soon conversations from fans started pouring in. The message was loud and clear - sometimes you need to unhear to actually hear someone. 

● Initiative reached out to ~39 million people on Instagram/ Twitter through conversations

● Trended #1 on Twitter on International Women’s Day 

● ~ 170k engagement received on posts 

● Campaign positively received by music fans

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Women's day womens day campaign Spotify Spotify's unheard playlist