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Every Song Has a Place: Coca-Cola, Spotify Launch Groundbreaking Social Music App

By:  Jay Moye Jun 11, 2013
Teens listening to music

Music fans who think the places they love – or would love to visit – deserve their own soundtracks will get their wish with Coca-Cola Placelists, a new social music app hosted on Spotify’s free streaming music platform.

Coca-Cola Placelists let teens tag the world with music by browsing Spotify’s genre-spanning library of more than 20 million licensed tracks, then linking the perfect songs to the perfect places or events – around the corner or around the world.

“We want to combine the physical experience of drinking a Coke with the virtual experience of listening to, discovering and sharing music,” explains Joe Belliotti, Coke’s director of entertainment marketing. “Our ambition is to have a Placelist associated with everywhere Coca-Cola is enjoyed.”

Inherently social by design, the app lets teens see where friends are checked in on Facebook, listen to other Placelists and zoom in on locations around the world – from a neighborhood café or park, to Copacabana beach in Rio, to the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Users can add tracks to an existing Placelist, vote songs up the queue or create a new Placelist for a specific location. 


Around the Corner or Around the World

The app is both hyper-local and global in scope. “Placelists let you simultaneously discover music through someone on the other side of the world and inspire a friend sitting next to you to listen to and like the same songs,” says Jackie Jantos Tulloch, global creative director for Coca-Cola. “We hope to make every Coke moment a musical moment, and every memorable musical moment a Coke moment.”

Coca-Cola is seeding the app with 30 specially curated Placelists – each containing at least 40 songs – pinned to a dynamic map interface based on Facebook Places. The brand also is working with artists including Youngblood Hawke – whose song, “We Come Running,” is featured in a Coca-Cola Music TV and cinema ad – to craft their own lists.

Additionally, Music Dealers is building “52 Songs of Happiness,” one for each week of the year. Emerging independent artists will write and contribute tracks based on the theme of discovering and sharing music in their favorite places.

Placelists App screenshot

A Musical Conversation

The Placelists journey dates back to 2011, when Coca-Cola began looking for a digital music partner to co-develop an experience that would create a relevant, always-on conversation with teens through the universal passion point of music.

“Spotify’s technology was perfect for what we want to do, which is use music as a social connector and offer a platform to discover and share new music,” Belliotti says.

The two companies formed a global partnership in April 2012 and have rolled out joint activations in Germany, Australia and Mexico. Jeff Levick, Spotify’s chief marketing and revenue officer, said the Placelists launch marks a bold step forward for the shared-value collaboration, which fuses Coke’s scale and reach with Spotify’s leading technology platform and vision to democratize music.

Since launching in Sweden in 2008, Spotify has amassed more than 24 million active users and more than 6 million paid subscribers. The fast-growing service is currently available in 28 countries, with more on the way.

“We’re not just brining music to people around the world; we’re bringing music to every place people enjoy by contextualizing the songs they love,” he explains. “We see this as something that will scale not just across the Coca-Cola world, but with Spotify as we continue to expand to new markets.”

More Than a Campaign

Coca-Cola Placelists tap into the emerging popularity of both Facebook Places (250 million people tag their posts each month) and Spotify playlists (more than 1 billion created, to date).

Coca-Cola Placelists logo

“As we thought about how the intersection of music at specific locations and single moments in time breeds togetherness, we began to paint a picture of what playlists could be around places and events… and what it would be like to interact with and share music at different places,” says Brad Ruffkess, connection strategist, Coca-Cola. “While unpacking that, the Placelists concept was born.”

From the initial brief, the team saw Placelists as a long-term play that would enhance global and local Coca-Cola campaigns, assets and events – from the FIFA World Cup, to Coke Studio in India, Pakistan and the Middle East, to the Rock’n Coke festival in Turkey – with an interactive and immersive music element.

“This is not a three-month activation,” Belliotti insists. “We’re putting our developer hats on and treating Placelists like a product, with a soft launch followed by gradual iteration as momentum and behavior build.” 

Jantos adds, “We’re excited to see how teens will mold the Placelists experience in ways that are relevant to their daily lives… and how we can help fuel whatever they want from it. Coca-Cola Placelists will take shape alongside – and with – teens for years to come.”