We live in a world of instant gratification. If I want a pizza, I pull my phone out and it is at my door in less than half an hour. If there is a new book out that I’m interested in, forget going to the library or even Barnes and Noble. I’m going to look it up on the Amazon App.
It’s the same with new music. People no longer have to go to Best Buy or Target to wait in line for their new favorite album to be released. Now, I can get the latest Fall Out Boy album or Clean Bandit single at midnight when it officially releases. There’s Apple Music, Spotify, Tidal, Amazon Prime Music, SoundCloud, YouTube Red, Pandora and the list goes on. But how do we decide how to consume? When it comes to something like pizza people tend to order their favorite (or when it comes to college students, the cheapest). For a book, this generation chooses the cheapest because no matter where you go, the book is going to be the exact same no matter what. But with music, each provider has a different platform from which we consume much of the same content. So how are consumers making their decisions? Is it based on how each streaming service interface works, how it looks, the exclusive content, the price, or word-of-mouth opinions from their friends? Or maybe it’s all of the above?
When it comes to the most popular streaming services for music, most college students I know and interact with agree that Spotify and Apple Music are at the top. They are the most popular and both have a dedicated user base. But which is better?
Everybody has a different opinion for a different reason. A couple months ago I was trying to decide which service to use. I enjoy having all the music I have accumulated from getting my first iPod for Christmas in 2005 mixed with my favorite new albums. For me that meant Apple Music was a better option. But Spotify’s Playlists are top-of-the-line, ask anybody. I went back and forth making a pros and cons list so-to-speak to compare Spotify and Apple Music. I researched price, customer satisfaction, opinions of technology experts on CNet and Consumer Reports, what featured musicians thought and eventually made a decision. But their was one huge influence in my decision: Spotify is promoted on every single one of my social media accounts from Instagram and Snapchat to Facebook and Twitter.
When I was looking into which to use, I was still in my free trial of Apple Music but I would occasionally use Spotify to listen to their algorithm-generated playlists based on my listening habits or for a certain mood. Every time I starting scrolling through Instagram or looking at people’s Snapchat Stories, I would see a Spotify featured artist or some enticing ad promoting their student deal. In the end, this use of social media marketing is what intrigued me. Spotify’s prominent display of their student deal, favorite playlists, and artists they were working with to promote new music kept me thinking about their service. Their use of marketing and the placement of their ads made me disregard some of the features that I originally was set on, like my aforementioned 2005 jams and how accustomed I was to the Apple Music App, and convinced me to try something new.
That is the power of social media marketing. Because college students and high school students are constantly consuming information all day everyday simply by scrolling through various social media feeds and reading opinion pieces, it is the perfect platform for brands to communicate with them. This generation sees pictures of the perfect person in the most beautiful place and we now have instant access to the same products and services as those people, Spotify included. Spotify has done an A+ job of showing what they provide, persuading you that people love it and convincing everybody that they’re missing out.