Attention Economy

Spotify is heavily dependent on The Attention Economy for success. Understanding users is the main driver in determining the success of a business (Davenport & Beck 2001) and this is a big focus for the platform having recently acquired data analytics company The Echo Nest (Lamere, 2014) to deep dive into user behaviour; as well as leveraging social media to get the attention of users. Fighting for attention in an over-saturated market will mean that Spotify needs to continuously evolve to surprise and delight subscribers (IdeaCast & IdeaCast, 2009) and prospects, as Goldhaber puts it:

“That is, getting attention is not a momentary thing; you build on the stock you have every time you get any, and the larger your audience at one time, the larger your potential audience in the future. Thus obtaining attention is obtaining a kind of enduring wealth, a form of wealth that puts you in a preferred position to get anything this new economy offers”.

Spotify needs its users to love the platform so that it can lure in new prospects with its freemium ad-supported offering, and then up sell them to the paid subscription model (, 2014).

Making music social ​

Since its 2008 conception Spotify has been steadily growing in popularity, with 10 million paying subscribers and an additional 40 million users on the “free” subscription model (Spotify Press, 2013).  One rationale for Spotify’s market cut-through is its partnership with Facebook. When Facebook launched its ‘real-time social listening’ feature with Spotify as its main partner at the F8 conference in September 2011, Spotify saw a 50% increase in its monthly active users in just six days (, 2014).


Graph shows Spotify usage inflates in September due to the Facebook partnership (chart courtesy of AppData).

There are few defining features between Spotify and other prominent platforms, Spotify has used Social media as a marketing tool not only to broadcast the brand into the public arena but also to connect with Facebook users by adding a real-time music feed of what you friends are listening to now. A 2014 Deloitte Case Study on Spotify stats “Social recommendations are a crucial factor in increasing engagement with new and established artists alike” giving Spotify a connection with Facebook users through they relationships online (, 2014). A study conducted at the University of Cambridge suggests that our musical taste is intrinsically linked to our personality and how we define ourselves, as well as they social groups we identify with (, 2014).

(IBN Live, 2014)

Listen and share

As well as leveraging connections on other social media platforms Spotify has also created social features that allow users to follow friends and artists to discover new music. Users can explore friends music tastes by visiting their Spotify profile and share music with connection in their network. These social features have been created to provide ways of sharing and discovering new music from trusted peers (Constine, 2014).

Capitalising on third parties

Spotify have allowed third party applications to tap in to the music streaming platform to develop apps such as Fuse an app which helps users create playlists, Emerge an app which uses social media data to predict upcoming artists and TuneWiki an app which generates lyrics based on the music users are currently listening to (Condliffe, 2014). Although you could argue that these apps are not created by Spotify, it demonstrates how the platform is putting the needs of users at the centre by allowing third parties to access the platform, while at the same time increasing the reach of the brand.

References,. (2014). The musical ages of modern man: how our taste in music changes over a lifetime | University of Cambridge. Retrieved 24 July 2014, from

Constine, J. (2014). Ears-On With Spotify Social, The New “Follow” Feature Now Available To Everyone | TechCrunch. [online] TechCrunch. Available at: [Accessed 1 July. 2014].

Condliffe, J. (2014). Spotify: We Want To Be the OS of Music. [online] Gizmodo. Available at: [Accessed 21 Jul. 2014].

Davenport, T. and Beck, J. (2001). The attention economy. 1st ed. Boston: Harvard Business School Press., (2014). Deloitte | Shaping Strategies: Spotify case study |About Pragmatic Pathways: New approaches to organizational change. [online] Available at: [Accessed 23 Jul. 2014].,. (2014). Making it a pleasure to pay: how to get freemium right | FEB. Retrieved 26 July 2014, from

Goldhaber, M. (1997). The attention economy and the net. First Monday, 2(4).,. (2014). Spotify Usage Explodes: The Social Network Effect | Retrieved 20 July 2014, from

IBN Live,. (2014). Facebook Listening to. Retrieved from

IdeaCast, H., & IdeaCast, H. (2009). Innovation to Delight (and Surprise) Your Customers. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved 26 July 2014, from

Lamere, P. (2014). The Echo Nest Support & API Integration Help -. Retrieved 16 July 2014, from

Migliore, M. (2014). An Update on Spotify | Music Business Journal | Berklee College of Music. Retrieved 28 July 2014, from

Spotify Press,. (2013). Information. Retrieved 20 July 2014, from



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