Music technology has evolved a long way since the peer-to-peer sharing Napster days. It seems like yesterday we were happily spinning vinyl on our turntables, trading mixtapes and listening to CDs on our Discmans. These days, even the Apple iPod seems positively retro as more and more consumers opt for online music streaming services via their computers and mobile devices. It’s a fast growing market and just in the last few decades, music technology has evolved from peer-to-peer file sharing, MySpace, iTunes to online streaming sites and apps that include Spotify, Apple Music, SoundCloud and Tidal. As brand managers, you must agree it’s an exciting and fast-paced market to observe from the strategic and brand awareness perspective.
And tracking brand awareness is now more important than ever.
Music Streaming Broke Records in Germany in 2018
In Germany in 2018, there was a record of 79.5 billion streams and streaming music grew by 40%. (In the same year physical sales fell, although the market still remains relatively strong.) In an industry that faces increasing challenges for artists and product, it seems that online streaming has disrupted both music distribution and sales, and has given artist access to its biggest global audience yet. For consumers, this also means a digital music library of unprecedented mass proportions with just a quick click of the mouse and either free or low cost subscription.
As music streaming sites continue to grow, there’s no more exciting time to be a brand manager in this industry. But how do you go about measuring this journey? By tracking brand awareness. And we can show you just how much value that can bring to your brand and business.
In Q2 of 2019, we surveyed over 1000 people in Germany to see what music streaming brands they had heard of. Here’s what they had to say and what you as brand managers can learn from these exciting insights.
Before we begin...
Why Having a High Level of Brand Awareness is Important
The simple answer to this is that high levels of brand awareness will translate into revenue and growth. However, there are some other ways you can look at this:
- Increased brand loyalty
- Re-targeting lost leads
- Reduction in marketing spend
All are important. Pick which one you will in order to spread the word amongst your team about the importance of brand awareness.
Now to the nitty gritty!
Which music streaming brands are performing the best?
Spotify dominated brand awareness amongst the music streaming brands, ranking at 90%. Next popular was Deezer at 76%, Apple Music at 62%, SoundCloud at 47% and Tidal at 10%.
What does this tell us?
Spotify has made it. This is the level of brand awareness that the likes of Amazon and Nike experience.
Maybe not for some of the brands listed above. Let us tell you why.
Big Artists Boost Brand Awareness, Right?
Tidal is one of the newest of these brands. Launched in Norway in 2014, it is a subscription-based audio, video and podcast streaming service which claims to offer more than 60 million premium quality tracks and to pay the highest amount of royalties to artists out of any streaming brand. When musician Jay Z acquired the brand in 2015, Tidal was being promoted as the first artist-owned music streaming service. Backed by big-name artists including Beyoncé, Rihanna, Madonna and Kanye West meant Tidal attracted a lot of publicity buzz from the early stages. But were these big-name artists enough to make an impact on brand awareness within the German market?
Exclusive Content as a USP
Compared to other music streaming services, Tidal offered content that was marketed as exclusive e.g Beyonce’s Lemonade album, the Prince back catalogue and Taylor Swift. For the consumer, this meant you had to pay a subscription to Tidal if you wanted to listen to these popular artists, with no free subscription option being offered compared to market-leader Spotify. Despite Tidal continuing to grow its revenue, it has failed to rank high in brand awareness in the German market. As brand managers, what can you take away from this?
Why wasn’t the unique content converting users?
Has this subscription model been the right approach been used for the German market?
Perhaps tracking brand awareness holds the key insights.
From Legacy Brands to Niche Audiences
One hypothesis about the low performance of Tidal is that it doesn't offer a free trial. However, Apple Music also doesn’t offer a free subscription option yet it performs 6x better in terms of brand awareness. Apple itself is a legacy and iconic brand, one of the best known in the tech world. Could this be the reason for its better brand awareness? And what is this telling you about bringing new products to the German market? Are German consumers prepared to pay for a quality product, and if so, what do these consumers look like as a niche audience?
On the other hand...
...we have SoundCloud which has positioned itself in the music streaming market with a focus on more unique content and content from emerging artists and uploads from users. Founded in Sweden in 2007, the company now has its headquarters in Berlin and it serves over 175 million monthly users with a mix of free and premium services that allows users to easily upload, promote and share audio. SoundCloud is performing 5x better than Tidal when it comes to brand awareness even though they both push unique content as their USP, compared to Apple Music and Spotify who focus on promoting more mainstream music.
Dive Deeper into Brands with Data-driven Brand Tracking
If the brand managers of these music streaming services subscribed to a brand tracking platform, they would be able to take a data-driven look at just exactly what is driving this brand awareness, including how it has performed over time and how it's performing for different audiences. They would gain insights into more information such as unaided brand awareness and brand consideration. As brand managers, the more information that you have access to, opens doors for more brand success.
Below is a little snapshot of what brand consideration looks like amongst music streaming brands. Overall, the level of brand consideration for other brands besides Spotify is pretty low. Does this mean that Spotify has the bulk of the market and people are barely looking at other brands?
Brand managers, does this match up to our above hypotheses? What do you make of the data compared to the brand awareness figures?
If you’re a brand manager in a fast moving industry such as technology, it is critical to track your brand’s performance. Using a brand tracking platform, means you’ll be able to access critical insights into how your brand is performing. Using this, you can then tailor your marketing strategy to your niche audience, get insights into what your competitors are doing, and see why brand awareness is important in today’s fast-paced market.