Feature

Media Awards 2010: Digital Sales Team of the Year - Spotify

Launched just 18 months ago, Spotify has revolutionised the way people listen to, talk about and discover music.

It has changed atmospheres in offices and homes across the land and gives people greater control over their musical worlds.

Spotify is at the forefront of cloud-based systems, focusing on music and blended media business models. With eight million tracks and 3.7 million users in the UK (ten million in Europe), Spotify is now the fastest-growing music brand.

In spite of how quickly it has been accepted by listeners, when Spotify launched, the obstacles were substantial. The biggest of these was the timing: a brand new company and concept was to enter the UK during the worst recession in memory. Very few users, risk-averse clients and agencies struggling to make money meant an incredibly tough position from which to generate ad revenue.

It was a challenge that Spotify embraced. In those first few months, the UK's only employees (three people) were in sales. Alongside their day jobs, it was also their responsibility to build the brand (with no marketing budget) while establishing a solid foothold in the UK. Through belief in the product, response from clients gradually moved from dismissal to understanding. By August 2009, the team had grown to six full-time sales professionals.

Since then, the team has really started to achieve momentum. It is pioneering the idea of accountable audio ads - a groundbreaking accomplishment in its own right when nobody in digital had ever been offered them before. It is also creating bespoke campaigns through working as closely with creative agencies as media agencies.

As a result, revenue at Spotify has risen tenfold, with campaigns booked by 600 different advertisers, covering all sectors.

It has also signed cross-media partnerships - including Absolute, Facebook and Xfm - and had the distinction of having had some of its campaigns subjected to investigations by the Advertising Standards Authority - a rite of passage for any new medium.

The Spotify sales team now numbers 20 - half of the business' total workers. And since it was created, the staff retention level has been 100 per cent.

Arguably, much of Spotify's success to date is because of the tenacity, creativity and passion of the sales team. Without the ad revenue allowing people to listen for free, Spotify would not be as successful. The team is not just selling ads, but proving the validity of a new medium.

With everyone from Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg to rapper Kanye West starting to take note of Spotify, the future for this medium looks promising.

COMMENDATION

Google/YouTube

Google has transformed its reputation from a competitor to media agencies to an organisation that works with them to help clients get the results they want. This change in attitude has also transformed revenues at Google's UK operations and helped shift perceptions of YouTube from something impossible to monetise into one of the prime advertising sites on the web.

The spirit of collaboration has lead to innovative campaigns such as LG's "Life in a day", a global campaign that started in London, and DDB's "Monopoly Live" push, which harnessed the power of Google Maps.

FINALISTS

Microsoft Advertising

News International

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