Aishwarya Ramesh

“One in four Spotify users in India listen to podcasts”: Neha Ahuja, Spotify India

On the sidelines of Spotify’s new campaign, we spoke to the head of marketing - India to understand the audio streaming sector and listening trends.

In time for Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022, audio streaming giant Spotify has released a campaign. The ads focus on daily situations that users find themselves in, and talk about how music makes things easier to deal with.

Ranging from being stuck in a traffic jam, to having a tough day at work, there are several unavoidable moments that the consumers go through daily. The campaign highlights how, when soundtracked with music, one can handle the most boring, annoying, or frustrating situation.

The campaign includes ads in Hindi, Tamil, Telugu and Kannada, depicting a few ‘slice of life’ moments and occasions people may go through on a daily basis. The campaign highlights that Spotify has over eight crore songs, and four billion-plus playlists for every mood and moment.

According to a press note, there are more than 1.5 lakh playlists created by Spotify users in India every single day, making it one of the most popular features of the audio streaming platform.

The campaign has been executed by Leo Burnett, Spotify’s agency on record. Over a video call, afaqs! caught up with Neha Ahuja, head of marketing - India, Spotify. She says that the brief to the agency was to incorporate music into daily situations and show how it can act as a grease to life in a sense.

To take it deeper into India, the campaign will be live on Hotstar, Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, Sharechat, Moj and YouTube. “Our main aim is to keep the ads relatable to the viewer, irrespective of whether they are 16 or 40 years,” says Ahuja. The brand is also planning to work with influencers across different categories in order to promote the campaign.

“We will be focusing mainly on TV and digital, and not so much on other mediums, like outdoor or print. For our campaign’s communication objective, we wanted it to predominantly play out on TV and digital,” says Ahuja.

Neha Ahuja
Neha Ahuja

Spotify is in a sweet spot right now. Audio streaming is one of the few services that has done well since the COVID pandemic broke out in 2020. As more people stayed, and worked from, home, there was an increased interest in listening to podcasts and streaming music, while taking care of household chores.

However, Ahuja debates my point, saying, “During COVID time, I wouldn’t say the consumption peaked, but I can safely say that the pattern of consumption has changed. We maintained a relatively healthy growth in the consumption trajectory. The consumption occasion changed, but I think the numbers were healthy, even when people were at home. Now people are commuting, meeting each other again, so we are expecting to see the consumption levels stay at healthy levels throughout the year.”

She mentions that before the pandemic, one in five people were podcast listeners. But post-pandemic, that number has changed to one in four.. “Twenty-five per cent of our user base are already podcast listeners. They tend to exhibit a diverse consumption pattern too. They listen to podcasts, with genres ranging from fiction to romance to mental health and so on.”

"25% of our user base are already podcast listeners."

She adds that another trend she’s seeing with current audiences (especially Gen Z) is that they are more interested in creating their own playlists - the platform sees almost 1.5 lakh playlists created daily.

Spotify was first launched in India in February 2019. Ahuja claims that the market is as competitive now as it was back then. “We were at No. 8 in the audio market in India, in terms of ranking. We are now looking at building brand salience through our advertising campaigns and marketing messages”, she signs off.

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