Spotify Heartland

Tasked with the challenge of increasing usership of Spotify in the Heartland of the United States, my team developed a communication strategy and comprehensive campaign to grow this user segment.


What do Carrie Underwood, Harry Styles, and Miley Cyrus all have in common? They have all stated that listening to Shania Twain in their youth has influenced their style as artists today. Red Hot Chili Peppers, John Mayer, and Miguel?  They have all attributed their work as guitarists to the influence of Jimi Hendrix.

From reading artist interviews and conducting our own interviews with people living in the Heartland currently, we discovered the Heartland is more diverse than what stereotypes would have you believe, and the music of today has a direct influence from the music that came before it.

Key Findings

From the research, three themes were uncovered about the Heartland and helped shape the strategy and creative work for the project. 

  • Hometown is where the heart is.

  • If it's not broke, don't fix it.

  • Music gets handed down.

The Target

Spotify runs its platform on the basis of music discovery appealing to its current consumer: The Active Discoverer.

Noting the low usership rates in the Heartland, it was inferred that Spotify's current consumer was less represented in the region and that the strategy needed to consider its alternative: The Passive Discover.

To widen Spotify's reach, we repositioned Spotify from the platform for music discovery to the platform of where music is going.

The Strategy

Drawing from the themes discovered about the Heartland and what was understood about the target, we distilled the underlying insight and the strategy moving forward.

People believe the Heartland is stuck in the past, but it's more about having reverence for a time passed.

Spotify lets you build on what came before you.

People aren't using Spotify because they don't see a clear benefit.

Incorporating the Heartland theme of "if it's not broke, don't fix it," we designed an ad campaign to live on social media platforms (Instagram) and out of home (billboards) to leverage the benefits of using Spotify.

Tech doesn't feel personal

People who live in the Heartland spend a lot of time in the car getting where they need to go. Local radio personalities become a daily part of the lives of the people who live there. Incorporating the theme of "Hometown is where the heart is," we created Spotify Radio Vibes: curated Spotify playlists for radio influencers.

Social and financial barriers prevent new users.

Remember when getting a mix CD from a friend or family member was the best gift ever?  Playing off the theme "music gets handed down," we made it possible to give those closest to you a personalized mix playlist with the option of a year of Spotify premium. By making Spotify giftable, new users are introduced to the platform with a personalized sentiment. This gives them a reason to start using the platform and provides a positive first impression.


Colin McCool, Alyson Gaiser, Evan Chiplock, Ashley Glover, Ted Gregson

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