Christian Marchant

Platform Innovation


Experiencing Music Culture on Spotify
1st Place- Live Client Pitch

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The Quick Pitch

The Ask:
How can Spotify become a greater part of music culture?

Cultural Context:
As playlists and streaming gain popularity, artists are falling to the background and passive listening is becoming more common (gym mix, study vibes, driving jams, etc.). We are losing our emotional connection to music and the culture behind it in the streaming era. 

Music culture is not about music – it’s about everything that surrounds the music. It’s about the movements, the beliefs, the legends, the lifestyles, and most importantly, the stories that echo what is happening in society.

We can connect people back to music culture by providing a way of interacting with and experiencing the stories behind the music.

Humanize Spotify's data to discover stories that connect us with the culture behind music.

Creative Deliverable:
A new format for experiencing music, its stories, and its culture within the platform. The product is called Spotify Notes. Notes are curations of music through data that create an interactive map, showing a greater human movement or story about our world.

Jump to Creative

A Closer Look

The Ask

Spotify came to the Brandcenter with a very broad and open ended brief: How can we extend Spotify's broad cultural relevance over the next 5 years?

Lean into culture.
Lean into what makes Spotify unique.
Lean into why fans value the brand.
Lean into what Spotify does really well.
Lean into discovery.


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The Spotify Brand in the Age of Discovery

When Spotify was founded in 2006, its goal was giving people access to as much music as possible. With new competitors like Apple Music and Google Play Music bringing music right into your tech ecosystem, Spotify is repositioning their brand around discovery. 

Spotify’ s immense data and knowledge on the listening habits of consumers gives them a huge competitive advantage. They are able to curate artists to help us discover music in new ways. What's next is using that data to tell greater stories about music. At the core of their brand, they are data storytellers through music.

Sometimes it feels like ‘algorithm’ is a nasty word, and it’s not... It’s an incredibly powerful word.
— Doug Ford, Director of Music Programming at Spotify

Key Learnings

Key Learning 1: People Have Become Less Emotionally Attached to Music in the Streaming Era


From records, to tapes, to CDs, to the digital era, the way we experience music has drifted farther and farther from the artist. Our emotional connection to these artist and their culture is fading.

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Along with this decreased connection to culture, access to unlimited music and constant recommendations actually hinders people's drive to branch out into new music. When music is made easy or effortless, it becomes less important to us and we lose respect for the work that went in to it. 

More than 99 percent of audio streaming is of the top 10 percent most-streamed tracks. Which means less than 1 percent of streams account for all other music
— Pitchfork and Buzz Angle Music

Key Learning 2: Music is an Echo of Culture

Music is the medium to discovering so much more about our world: the stories, beliefs, and ideals that make us human. 

I think the music reflects the state that the society is in. I think the poets and musicians and artists are of the age - not only do they lead the age on, but they also reflect that age.
— John Lennon

Music in Culture

Kendrick Lamar's To Pimp a Butterfly resonated with audiences everywhere, received high praise from critics, and won multiple awards. Beyond that, this album was so successful because it stood for more than the sound of hip-hop. It became a soundtrack for the Black Lives Matter movement and a dialogue on black activism in America. 

Lady GaGa expressed her values outside her music. Her meat dress stunt gained great publicity in speaking out against the military's restrictions on the rights of gay soldiers. 



Music culture is about the movements, the beliefs, the legends, the lifestyles, and most importantly, the stories that echo what is happening in society. We are losing our connection to this culture in the streaming era. 



Spotify needs a way to connect listeners to the greater stories and culture behind the music within the platform.  Our goal was to add music history and stories to Spotify’s repertoire of data to accumulate as much knowledge on artists, movements, and cultures behind music as possible. 

The Brief


Creative Executions


Creative Concept

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How it Works

We told a story about hip hop through the lyrics of the genre's most famous songs. Did you know Grey Poupon (yes, the mustard) appears over 180 times in the history of rap music? Navigate some of the influences and movements that fueled hip hop history by tracking Grey Poupon in lyrics! Users can explore directly within the Spotify platform.


Inspiration for our First Spotify Note

We took inspiration from some other brands sharing and promoting music culture.


The Potential of Notes

As Notes begins to expand, Spotify can continue creating content around the most famous stories in music's past and present. 


Utilizing Partnerships

All the information for Spotify Notes currently exists across the web, and inside Spotify's own data. Music culture hubs like Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, and Spotify's current partner Genius are all perfect for diving behind the music and creating a continuing output of Spotify Notes. 


Results: Our project was awarded 1st place among the presentations to Spotify Strategists and Global Director of Brand Strategy.

The Team:
Creative Brand Manager: Joe Baumgardner
Strategists: Christian Marchant & Carly Harrison
Experience Designer: Harding Coughter
Copywriter: Clay Notestine
Art Director: Sarah Wallace



Get in touch to ask me how I got my Spotify Rap Caviar Influencer money phone...