Dave is the Director of Marketing for Spotify and with a background in marketing and music it’s the perfect role for his talents.
→ What is Spotify
→ What was the part of some grand strategy organically
→ What kind of growth has Spotify experienced since its launch
→ His background as Director of Marketing at Spotify
→ What is his focus on finding new opportunities and as the highest priority
→ His thoughts that the key to Spotify’s growth is the social aspect of that definition
→ How do Facebook and Spotify integrate
→ His campus influencer strategy
→ The primary channel of nudging people toward the paying plans
→ And a whole lot more
Bronson: Welcome to another episode of Growth Hacker TV. I’m Bronson Taylor, and today I have Dave Alter Eskew with us. Dave, thanks for coming on the program.
Dave: Thanks for having me.
Bronson: So, Dave, you are the U.S. director of marketing for Spotify, is that right?
Dave: That’s correct.
Bronson: All right. I know we have a lot of Spotify fans in the audience because that’s probably true about any audience. But just in case someone’s been living under a rock and never been online, that kind of thing. Tell us, what is Spotify?
Dave: So Spotify is an on demand streaming music subscription service. Essentially, it gives you a catalog of millions of songs that you can have access to and listen to whenever you want to where you are. You know, it really. We let you either go in and dove in, search for the songs you want to listen to or sit back, browse and, you know, listen to radio and kind of more low touch experiences as well. We have a paid subscription service at $10 a month and we have a free tier as well with advertising.
Bronson: Yeah. And I see a premium user myself. I can’t live without. I was listening to it on the drive to the office this morning. So and not even thinking that I’m getting any interviews, you know, disconnectedness is part of my life now. Now, some people don’t realize that Spotify actually was popular in a number of countries before it came to the U.S.. Was that a part of some grand strategy or is that just kind of organically? How it worked was that.
Dave: It was probably a combination of both. I think it’s actually it was pretty interesting situation. Our company started in Sweden and when it started, Sweden was riddled with piracy and you know, there was actually a political party that was dedicated to piracy, I think was called the Pirate Party. And, you know, a number of the big pirate services came out of Sweden. So when Spotify came into the market, I think that the rights holders at that point had and kind of to an extent, you know, put up the white flag and said, okay, let’s do it. Yeah, but if you think that you can make this work, then let’s do this. And and so Spotify was given the ability to try and do something that no one had ever really done before, which is create a service that was giving people access to all of this content for free legally. And so it really broke new ground. And that was something that the model was able to be duplicated in other markets as a result. But I think that had it. You know, how do we try to start this in another market, a bigger market like the U.S.? It would have been probably much more difficult to, you know, get get the rights and just wrap their head around it.
Bronson: So, Dave, what kind of growth has Spotify experienced since its launch? I don’t know what you can disclose, but maybe, you know, a number of countries you guys are in, how many users, your God number of songs you’ve streamed? Just anything to give us an idea of of the scope here.
Dave: Yes. We’ve got, you know, over £6 million of subscribers. We’ve got over 20 million active users. We have, you know, 20% paying subscribers to active users. Let’s see. You know, we’re in 28 countries. We’ve got 20,000 songs added per day.
Bronson: Wow. That’s incredible. I didn’t know that was possible.
Dave: Yeah. No, it’s. It’s what? We’ve got over a billion playlists that have been created so far.
Bronson: Wow. That is a lot of playlists. Yeah, that’s that’s one of my primary ways of, you know, using Spotify is through the playlist or the radio because I don’t have time to curate my own music. So I rely on others or eras. You all’s algorithm to do it so I can see where there’s some of your playlist. Describe your typical day to us because you know you’re the director of marketing. You know, marketing is obviously going well. You guys have 6 million paying subscribers. So what do you do from 9 to 5? You wake up, you get your coffee. Walk us through kind of a general day if there is such a thing.
Dave: Yeah. And so I’ve got a very tight knit, relatively small team. We work really closely together. We’re working mostly on scalable campaigns that are kind of ongoing and always evolving and always kind of being tweaked and optimized and built up. And then we have just like a flurry of other things that are always happening from, you know, additional projects that are coming up to, you know, just managing lots of emails and delegation and and and then, you know, there’s a lot of internal meetings for status updates because we’re we’re really working across every department at the company. And there are lots of external meetings with partners and with vendors and with agencies to really help kind of move things forward and and quickly kind of keep on bringing new opportunities to the table and managing the existing opportunities. Yeah.
Bronson: So what you said at the end there is that kind of the heart of it, finding new opportunities, managing those and then keeping up with the old opportunities as well. That’s kind of the two things you’re doing.
Dave: I think that we’re mostly trying to focus on and prioritizing the big opportunities and trying to, you know, make sure that those are kept front of mind and as highest priority. It’s very easy at a company that’s, you know, moving so quickly and doing so well to have lots of opportunities that come up that seem like big opportunities. But but assessing them and really kind of deciding which ones you’re going to move forward with. This is a big part of the job.
Bronson: No, absolutely. I was just reading a book called The One Thing That Matters. And the whole premise of the book is, you know, there’s so much you could do, but if you can just find the one thing that will move the needle the most and focus almost exclusively on it, and everyone has their one thing in the company, then really crazy things can happen. So I’m trying to implement implement that myself in different ways. It’s going well so far. Now, I heard you describe Spotify as a social music discovery platform. That was kind of the sassy definition that you’ve given before. Do you think the key to Spotify is growth is the social aspect of that definition? Because there’s other places to discover music, but Spotify does it uniquely well. Socially, it seems like it’s at the heart of it.
Dave: Yeah. I mean, you know, music has always been social. I think that, you know, it’s a way that we identify ourselves. It’s a way that we, you know, kind of communicate with people. We, you know, often you’re finding out about new songs or new artists through your friends or through people you respect and trust or publications or other kind of, you know, trusted resources. Spotify really helps to kind of build a digital connective tissue that that connects people and lets them kind of do these, you know, executing behaviors that they’ve already had, you know, in a, you know, online platform. And so I think that I think that, you know, taking existing behaviors and just kind of socializing.
Bronson: Yeah. You know, I heard people on the show before say something very similar that, you know, they say like Snapchat, you know, the VC that invested in that came on and said the reason it’s so successful is because it’s doing something that we want to do in the real world. And the real world, we say something and it doesn’t stay there forever, disappears like we say it, and then it’s gone. Snapchat does the same thing. You can say it and then, you know, in a few days whenever it goes away. And he said, so anytime you can take something that’s offline and is a part of humanity and bring it online, you’re tapping into something deep there. And I think you’re right. I think Spotify is doing the same thing. Spotify is very social and we’re very social when it comes to music, so it makes a lot of sense.
Dave: I think that’s really interesting. I mean, I think that there’s the key to that is that there’s existing human behaviors that you’re already tapping into. And some of those things are going to start to shift when you kind of bring in this new digital presence. But but in its core, it’s something that humans already kind of have the need to do. And then then it’s really like grounded in something that’s meaningful and has utility and context.
Bronson: Yeah. Now Spotify, it seems. From the outside looking in has had massive success utilizing the Facebook platform for growth. Some of the guests on the show actually use Spotify as an example of how you can still use the PayPal platform to grow. So you guys are kind of a poster child for that. You know, the new company that can do that. Walk us through some of the different ways that Facebook and Spotify really integrate together. Because I know you guys are pushing information. You’re pulling information, and there’s a lot of overlap there in different ways. And some of it’s obvious, but some of it may not be as obvious. How does Facebook and Spotify really integrate?
Dave: Well, so when when we first launched in the US, you know, just about a month after that, we integrated with Facebook. And what’s fascinating about it is that that was really the first time that people could simply see what all their friends were listening to through any through any platform. It was kind of the first time that that was socialized in the digital space. And so with that came, you know, all sorts of interesting opportunities. And I think that, you know, Spotify happened to be the player in the space who was really, you know, getting to take advantage of it in a huge way. And so I think that, you know, immediately you can see how people are you know, there’s a huge awareness opportunity for us with people sharing notifications on Facebook with their friends. And this is an authentic earned media opportunity for Spotify, because instead of us telling you to check out Spotify, it’s your friend telling you to check out Spotify or you frankly, I got this artist who happens to be on Spotify. And so it’s a way for us to kind of sit back and let others do the marketing for us. And so in that way, it was a very powerful tool. And because so many people were doing that, there was a big, you know, awareness build for Spotify during that first year. But still, it’s, you know, we continue to see people and what they’re listening to on Spotify.
Bronson: And you use the phrase authentic earned marketing. I think that’s so key right there. And I think that’s the kind of marketing that you don’t get backlash and people don’t get sick of it and they don’t, you know, have this taste in their mouths when they hear about it. Because is their friends authentically sharing like you earned that share because you did something meaningful in their day and they’re sharing it. So I like that phrase a lot. I think that’s key for marketers to not become spammy.
Dave: Well, right. I mean, I think that that marketing has kind of become a place where you want to be authentic and you want to you, you know, be the thing that you want to, you know, that you want to, you know, show that you are in the world as opposed to just saying that you’re that thing. And I think that, you know, word of mouth is the most powerful form of marketing. So if we can get our users to speak on our behalf and to tell the world how great we are, then, then it makes our our jobs a lot easier.
Bronson: Yeah. Now, this next thing I want to ask you about, I’m excited about because, you know, you’re director of marketing for a very online company, and yet it’s an offline strategy. So I like it when those things happen because it takes the conversation in new directions here. You guys have done some really innovative things among college students. So walk us through your campus influencer strategy. If I’m calling that by the right term.
Dave: Sure. Yeah, I know we haven’t had like a consumer facing term for it. We have the college ambassador program and it goes along the lines of what we were saying about kind of word of mouth marketing our products. Great. And once people get that Aha moment of seeing how it works, you know, they immediately see the value in Spotify. And, you know, I’ve witnessed this firsthand so many times. You you explain it to somebody, but once you put it in front of their face and you say, Give me a song and check it out, they’re immediately say, I need this. So we wanted to help amplify that experience and bring it to a bunch of people. And so a lot of the marketing programs that we’re doing intent on kind of taking that word of mouth strategy and amplifying it. How do you take the 1 to 1 experience, to one to many? And the Student Ambassador program takes this very influential segment, which are college students and gets a bunch of them to really use old school hand-to-hand combat, to just share Spotify with their friends, with student organizations, you know, with teachers and other kind of influential luminaries in the college space and and really kind of spread the word of Spotify, but but do it in a kind of bigger, amplified way.
Bronson: Yeah, it’s just so people that are watching this that may want to imitate it and. Some pay for their own product. Are you paying these ambassadors? Are you giving them free T-shirts? Are they doing it just because they love Spotify? How does the relationship actually look like there?
Dave: So we’re actually we’re working with an agency who works with these student ambassadors, and we’ve motivated them and incentivized them through a bunch of different ways, you know, most of which are, you know, really giving them credit for for what they’re doing. And a lot of them are already huge Spotify fans. So you work with people who are already massive advocates of the product and you give them the tools and the resources that they need to go and help you reach more people. And they’re willing to do it, you know, for free and for for very small incentives.
Bronson: Yeah. And so they’re going onto these campuses and kind of integrating into their life, into their dorm room, into their classroom, wherever may be. Are they also come back to you guys and giving feedback like, hey, this is what we’re seeing as user behavior or adoption trends or whatever? And then you guys are being re informed about your marketing efforts through that interaction from that way as well.
Dave: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I think that’s one of the biggest values is having these, you know, eyes and ears on the ground. And then there is power in numbers. You know, we’ve amplified our our ability to, you know, make insights and assessments of what’s happening in the market. And, you know, because in a lot of cases, there are certain common denominators across every campus, but there are lots of differences. You know, even on a campus like campus level, yeah.
Bronson: Did this campus ambassador strategy, did it play out kind of like you thought it would in your mind before it began? Or has it just sort of taken on a life of its own, like, huh, that’s happening. We really didn’t plan for that to happen. How has it been?
Dave: Well, so there’s one funny little tidbit. The influencer has decided to create their own name for for the ambassador group. And it’s spotlights, which I wouldn’t have necessarily chosen that name, but they chose it and they own it and they love it. And they they hashtag it all the time. And so you kind of can’t stop them the same time. You don’t want to because they feel like it’s theirs. They’ve got ownership of it. So I would say for the most part, much, you know, a lot a lot of it has been going the way that we planned. A lot of it is has you know, there’s been aspects that have been unexpected as well. And so far it’s been all pleasant surprises.
Bronson: Now it’s good. You know, earlier you mentioned authentic earned marketing and we talked about how important that was. And you just say another word that I think is really important ownership. I mean, maybe those are the two takeaways so far of the interview. You know, earn your marketing the right way, but then also give people ownership and give groups ownership of your product if you can, because then, you know, great things can really happen when you put people in control and they name it, things that you wouldn’t name it. As a marketing guy, you’re like, Oh, we could do a little better name than that. It’s a little long, whatever, but it’s like that’s their name, you know? And so now they own it and it’s going to mean so much more than if it was a top down hierarchy kind of thing.
Dave: Absolutely. I mean, I think that, you know, I don’t like the term joining the conversation, but it’s it’s kind of true. There’s you kind of need to let go and just let things happen. Because let’s be honest, you know, we can we can try and control, you know, what’s happening online. But but there is limited control that we have and the community’s much bigger than we are. And they’ve got a lot of power, so might as well work with them.
Bronson: Yeah. Now you guys are doing this offline thing and a lot of people avoid offline when they’re online because they can’t track it, they can’t measure it, they can’t really get the metrics and they don’t know if it’s working as well as they think it is. It’s a lot of anecdotes. It’s not a lot of hard data. How are you guys finding that? Are you able to see? Yeah, it’s actually working. It’s growing. We see the users increase in the areas where the ambassadors are or is it more of we think it’s working and we’re okay with that?
Dave: No, we see that it’s working. We’re we’re seeing that it’s working across a bunch of different forums. We’re seeing it through localized and contextual pain media that there basically a much there’s a much bigger plan that I think will take a long time to to fully realize. But but in the short term, we’re looking at this from the top to the bottom of the funnel, and then that’s the purchase funnel. You know, from the top of the purchase funnel, there are less tangible kind of measurements like like registrations that you can pin your, you know, the point to and say, hey, this is exactly what’s what it’s driving from a lifetime value standpoint. But you know that if you do enough at the top of that funnel that that. You’re going to get users flowing down to the bottom and to reach a mainstream segment and to kind of go outside of the early adopters and kind of the, you know, the low hanging fruit you need to do that. So I think that it’s been a great kind of push to a segment outside of the early adopter segment, outside of, you know, into the mainstream and to get us there.
Bronson: So I think you guys have such a unique position because you can focus so much on the top of that funnel, the customer acquisition part, because they’re dealing with music, which is so universal to humans. And your product is really good. And so it’s almost that anywhere you expose the product, you have a possible person that’s going to work through the funnel. Other companies don’t have that luxury. They don’t appeal to almost everyone, you know. And so you guys, I think, are unique, and you can just really focus on the top of the funnel and, you know, great things are going to happen.
Dave: That’s I mean, that’s been our experience from a free registration standpoint. When we get people, when we kind of corral the masses into becoming registered and active users, there’s a pretty good conversion ratio. And so we don’t necessarily have to invest all of our time in making them all paid users on day one because they ultimately get the value proposition. And many of them choose to become paid users because the products are really good.
Bronson: You know, as I say, you know, with I think about Evernote and they say that they like their free members because the longer somebody is free, the more likely they are to become a paid member. And so they’re okay with people staying free for a long time because eventually they might, you know, convert over. And they say the longer you’ve been a free, the more likely you are to convert. So it works in your favor, you know, when you have a service like Evernote and like Spotify. Now, besides the social integration that we talked about with Facebook, besides kind of the campus influencers that we talked about, what are some of the other customer acquisition channels that Spotify uses? I mean, earlier you mentioned your day to day, you said, you know, you’re kind of maintaining the existing, you know, things that you’re doing and then you’re looking at new opportunities. What are those existing things that you’re doing? Is it looking over paid campaigns? Is it, you know, offline marketing ad magazines like what is it you’re doing?
Dave: We’ve got a campaign that’s going right now. We we you know, I don’t know. I’ve seen we did a TV commercial and and we have a bunch of online paid media that run in the US. We also have a referral program that recently launched which allows you to get a free month of Spotify premium for five friends that you registered to Spotify. So again, it’s taking that word of mouth and amplifying it through a digital channel. So we’ve seen already, you know, some early great results with that. And and it’s a great way, again, for us to take all of these people who are huge advocates for our product. Because, as you said yourself, you know, it’s it’s a it’s a sticky product that people that people enjoy. It’s easy for people to share. So we’re looking at multiple other campaigns that kind of fit that bill and then take that word of mouth and help amplify on that.
Bronson: Yeah. No, it’s actually cool that you said you’re running commercials and I haven’t seen the commercial yet, but the CMO versus or the previous CMO of Zeus came on and he said, you know, it’s just it’s amazing what commercials can do when you have that kind of product. He had a dating product. You guys have music. Same thing. The the CMO, the previous CMO of Expedia said the same thing. The commercials are just so powerful. And, you know, not many people have the budget to do them. But when you see people with the budget to do it, like someone in your position, you hear nothing, but it’s great and we’re going to push that direction. So I’ll be excited to see how that kind of plays out. If you have the the same experience that the other guys have had now, have there been any channels that you’ve tried that just haven’t worked? You thought they would and they just kind of blew up?
Dave: No, I so that’s kind of, I think a an approach thing. I think that we really make a point to to build out a hypothesis and to then test that hypothesis, you know, you know, quick and and kind of quick and dirty our way and get and get something up and running quickly, understand what what we don’t, you know, what hypothesis maybe we were missing and then gone and retested it out because I think that that’s that’s the process. You don’t expect to go into these situations having all the answers. And so knowing that you don’t have all the answers, Bay, by actually seeing something in market, you learn a lot and you continue to evolve and learn. And you know, a lot of the channels that we’ve worked with ultimately can become fruitful. But it just it takes time to to really. Build out those hypotheses and learn from them.
Bronson: Yeah. So it’s not failure. It is learning. You’ve learned enough. It may look like failure, but it’s just your learning. And that’s, you know, that’s the way it is.
Dave: There may be areas that we focus on, but I think that, you know, we’re at the point where we are getting some great learnings and we know some of the directions that we’d like to start headed.
Bronson: Yeah, and it’s interesting you say that, you know, that you’re starting to get some learnings and you’re starting to know that. And yet Spotify has been around for a while. You’ve been in Spotify for a little while. Like learning this takes time, doesn’t it?
Dave: It does, yeah.
Bronson: And there’s no shortcut to it.
Dave: Absolutely. And as you grow, you know, the world changes and the product evolves. I mean, all of these things are factors and you need to kind of continue to innovate as a company, as a product, as a marketing organization. We are constantly innovating in the way that we approach and tackle challenges.
Bronson: Yeah. Now you mentioned, you know, that you guys have those 6 million paid subscribers. And so part of what you all have to do is convert people from the free to the paying plan. What have you all found to be the best methods for kind of nudging people? Because I went through that process as a user, you know, and I but you know, as a free user out here, the commercial, you know, hey, you’re missing Spotify premium, you know, and every time I heard it, it made me think for a second and that kind of worked with me a little bit. And then I think the frustration of not being able to do it on mobile and get the songs I wanted. So there was, you know, some barriers there that really forced me to upgrade. What have you guys found to be the primary channel of nudging people toward the paying plans?
Dave: I think that, you know, the the free product itself is probably one of it’s probably the greatest marketing tool that we have because it allows people to, with very little friction, test out Spotify and try it out and experiences and use it. And so I think that that’s a great product itself. Again, you know, the conversion has been pretty seamless because so many people get the value proposition and feature benefits that you get with premium that you don’t get with with the free version. And so as long as we do a good job of explaining what those benefits are and people have a very easy time understanding what those things are, I think that it kind of sold itself.
Bronson: Gotcha. Have there been any attempts at a backfire? Because I know sometimes companies can get aggressive and I don’t know of any examples with you guys. I’m just asking where they get aggressive and they push people toward the pain plan and then it backfires. Have you guys experienced that? You know, you play too many commercials. You you know, I don’t know. You don’t give them enough in the free product or is it really just been a seamless, as you said?
Dave: Well, I mean, I think, you know, and users can try it out for themselves. The being free product, you get access to millions of songs. That’s a pretty compelling free from free product. Yeah, I haven’t experienced that personally and I don’t think that that’s something that we’ve seen as a trend. So no, I don’t think that’s been an issue for us. But I also I know that we’ve been really focusing on creating a great experience for free users.
Bronson: Yeah, well, that’s great. Now, Spotify also has created an app platform where third parties can actually develop on top of your product. Is that right?
Bronson: Yeah. And so when did the app platform launch? How long has that been around for?
Dave: And it launched in November of 2011.
Bronson: Okay. So how are you all attracting developers to that? That’s always a hard thing to do. You create that platform and then nobody cares. Yeah. So is that incentivize?
Dave: It’s kind of the opposite. Yeah, yeah. We’ve got a lot of interests, much more so than we’ve been necessarily been able to kind of accommodate. We’ve created a very kind of tailor experience where we’re really the apps or features on the on the platform and much less just, you know, apps kind of in the way that you might see on other app stores.
Dave: So, you know, it hasn’t been an issue, to be honest. It’s been more about kind of, you know, being very selective about which apps are going to be differentiated in their way of creating great music discovery experience.
Bronson: Yeah. How do you see users interact with the apps? Do you see some users that almost interact with Spotify exclusively through the apps and that becomes their window into the music? Or is it always kind of just a fringe thing? That’s cool, but it’s never the main thing for really anybody. What’s been your experience with it?
Dave: Well, so my experience has been that it kind of depends on the user one. And also it’s it’s all changing. You know, we’re the apps are kind of coming up to the front of the platform and they’re going to be much more visible very soon. Right now, the apps, I would say, you know, there are some apps that are very popular, but it’s going to I think that you’re going to find. Very soon that there’s going to be many more apps and better that are going to be visible kind of at the front end of the problem.
Bronson: Gotcha. So I guess you guys are doubling down on the app since you’re raising them to prominence. So you must see some good signs there.
Dave: Just want to we want to make sure that the music discovery experience is seamless as possible and that the way that you experience the app is kind of inherent to whether you’re experiencing the overall product. And I think that we’re we’re getting that and the evolution of the product.
Bronson: Yeah. When I see the apps, I see so much opportunity there. I think you’re right. I think it’s a little bit buried. You know, it’s not the most obvious thing. But when you get into it and you find the apps that really work with your style of listening, you can do things that you just never thought about but that you love.
Dave: What I love about the apps is it really it’s kind of democratized the music discovery landscape if we can. You can discover music in ways that you never thought possible. We have, you know, everything from Rolling Stone, which allows you to see reviews to Billboard, which allows you to see the top 102 soundtrack, which allows you to to go into a forum and, you know, sit there with with friends and or people you don’t know and listen to the same song together on both sides of both sides down. We’ve got app experiences like Blue Note, which allow you to see all the remixes of a particular song through all the other songs that are on Spotify to things like dating apps where you can actually see your compatibility with other people on Spotify through through app and through your music listening experiences. You know, it makes you realize that there’s an infinite number of ways to discover music. And, and, you know, we’ve really created a platform so that these third party experiences can post them.
Bronson: Yeah, I think it’s such a good trend because I think about, you know, Facebook when they were a social network and then they became at some point a platform. They became this layer of the Internet that just got ingrained in everything. And I look at Spotify and, you know, there’s been a lot of music services, but none of them went to the level of platform. And then you guys, by becoming a platform, I don’t know how anybody can compete, quite honestly, because, you know, I think about, you know, sound drop that you mentioned and it’s like, okay, that was turntable out of him. But now it’s within Spotify as an app, among a million other things that turntable could never do. And turntable obviously kind of slowly died. But, you know, it’s like this is one example that I think about Pandora and it’s like, okay, they have the radio function and that’s it like that. And then you’re stuck like but Spotify becomes almost like all the best things of all the puzzle music apps, plus all the future things that developers are going to build. So it just seems like you guys are really building a moat around the product that’s going to be really hard for someone to compete against. Now, let me ask you something on a personal note. Tell me if I’m wrong here. But your background is in music and not in marketing per se. Is that right, first of all?
Dave: Well, so both you know, I worked at record labels. I’ve managed bands, I’ve worked at advertising agency in an innovation unit, working with Fortune 50 clients such as G.E. and Pepsi and State Farm and Visa. So that kind of worked on both sides. I you know, even when I was working in music, I was working in music marketing. So I’ve kind of been.
Bronson: Sort of the perfect place for you.
Dave: Yeah, it is.
Bronson: So having a background in music and in marketing, you kind of get to go deep in both ways. You get to know the heart of the product in a deep way, but then you also have this marketing expertize you bring to the table. Does that give you a leg up because you actually have a leg in both worlds? Do you see that as a benefit or do you think it really matters?
Dave: I mean, I think that, to be honest, you know, marketing is you know, it requires some experience. And and I think that, you know, where you went to college is basically learning how to learn. You know, you either learn how to learn new skills and be able to kind of apply those skills to, you know, future situations or not. And I think that my background in music me how to deal with an industry that was changing a lot during most of the time that I was working in it and to really kind of know how to leap from, from, you know, one challenge to the next and kind of always, always know how to stay afloat and know is know how to kind of manage things as, as things got a little crazy. And so, you know, people that work in industries that aren’t in a state of flux don’t necessarily understand where I’m coming from. But if you’ve been in a in a changing industry, know that that’s that’s the kind of unique skill. So it applies to any kind of new innovative industry.
Bronson: So learning how to learn like that. I just realized when you said that why I’m not a huge fan of college. Because you don’t know how to learn it. Then go learn the things you actually need to know of it. Now that’s great. And you’re right. You know, when things are in flux, it’s how quick can you learn? How quick can you iterate? How quick can you move forward? Not, you know, where’s your degree from? Who cares? Are you learning? Because Spotify is not like anything you took a class about ever?
Dave: You know, anything that I would have learned in marketing, you know, has changed by the time that that, you know, from from 2001 when I graduated to now, you know, the entire world of marketing changed. The entire world of music has changed. So many so many things in the world in general have changed. So I think that it’s mostly about knowing how to stand your toes and move quickly.
Bronson: Yeah. Now, you’re also a Nike plus advisor that helps guide startups. So let me ask you a few questions kind of surrounding that, since you’re do it to, you know, talk to startups and guide them, would you ever recommend that a startup get into the music space after seeing all you’ve seen kind of on two fronts? One, you know how good your product is and two, you know how hard just a music startup is. Would you ever recommend somebody go that direction?
Dave: Absolutely. Really? Yeah, absolutely. I think that the music industry is on an upswing. And I think that, you know, we’re at in the infancy of how much it’s going to innovate and evolve. And I think that, you know, I you know, I worked in music my entire life. I think that it’s, you know, startups in general are you know, I work as a music industry startup right now. So, yeah, I would absolutely get it.
Bronson: No, it’s good. That’s encouraging because I think a lot of people, a lot of startups that want to do something with music, you know, VCs don’t aren’t that excited about it because they’ve been burnt before. They’ve invested in something, didn’t work. It’s hard to get the deals worked out with the companies. You know, music is just it’s a tough one. So it’s encouraging to hear somebody in your position say, Yeah, it’s on the upswing. There’s a lot still there to still figure out and it’s a place to innovate. So that’s cool. Let me ask you something else. What do you wish more startups knew about marketing that they usually miss? Because you interact with these startups, you see where their heads ad and how they think they’re going to market their product or whatever. What do you wish they understood about marketing?
Dave: Mm hmm. I think, you know, creating hypotheses, like I said before, and building on top of them and kind of, you know, knowing that they’re not going to always be right from the get go. But, you know, understanding that you’re going to have to use some intuition when you start and and to dove in and try and, you know, evolve as you go and learn. You know, I think that many people put, you know, put a big number up on the wall and say this is what’s going to happen. And I think that that’s that’s a very difficult thing to really realize in the real world with so many complexities and variables that you don’t have the answers to. So I’d say, you know, start with with trying to keep it as simple as possible and and then going to be, you know, track it very closely. I would also say, you know, in tandem that identify moments in the world where people might actually care about your product and really start there. Because, you know, so many people that I’ve seen have created things that don’t really serve a need that exist in the world. Mm hmm. That start with something that really people need and then build something that fits into that moment, and then that makes it that much easier when you’re going to market to people in that particular moment. So, you know, we’ve identified lots of moments where where music plays an important role, but I think that any product or service can likewise think about what are the important moments for your product.
Bronson: Gotcha. That’s a cool way to think about it. Moments. You know, we talk often about, you know, finding a pain and being the solution, but really to break it down to the moments where your product comes into play and then kind of building the marketing around that. I think that’s a unique way. It’s even a more granular way to look at it. So I like that. Dave I think that’s great advice to end on. Thank you so much for coming on growth narrative and sharing kind of what you’ve been doing with with the campus outreach and all the other things you guys are involved in. And I’m sure that the trajectory of Spotify is going to keep going up into the right. So thanks for coming on.
Dave: Thanks for having me.
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