Spotify at CES 2018: What Happened In Vegas

We might be in Las Vegas, but we actually do remember what happened last night. In fact, we can give you a pretty good recap of our week at CES 2018.

All week long, we got to explore the future of streaming, advertising and personalization. But we didn’t just geek out — we brought the culture to the show floor. That meant a sick live set from Wiz Khalifa, a yummy meal from chef Eddie Huang, and life-sized installations of our most popular playlists: RapCaviar, ¡Viva Latino! and Your Time Capsule. Here’s a breakdown of what went down for Spotify at the world’s biggest tech conference.

Transparency is the way forward for marketers

  • Throughout the week, marketers stressed the importance of being transparent with your audience about the ad experience. Brian Benedik, Spotify’s Global Head of Sales, joined panelists from Vice Media, Clear Channel Outdoor and more to discuss why this transparency is essential in contextual marketing. Instead of overwhelming people with distracting messaging, he explained, marketers need to be honest with their audience about the ads they’re delivering.
  • Business Insider covered how Spotify’s Sponsored Sessions format takes that approach, giving brands the opportunity to gift a listener with 30-minutes of ad-free content, after they watch one quick ad. As the piece explains, this approach uses “exactly the kind of overt appeal that advertisers and publishers need to take in an era when consumers are skipping and avoiding ads all over the planet, and any interruptions are viewed with hostility.”

Singer, songwriter, activist MILCK performs at The Girls' Lounge.

Representation matters

  • The future is female, and the future is now. At the Sonos Tech Boom Boom Room, we were inspired by a diverse lineup of speakers who talked about how they are shaping the future of creative culture and technology. They also discussed the importance of inclusion and how inspiration from other women drove their careers. Our VP of Partner Solutions, Danielle Lee, joined the panel to share her own experience. “As a person of color and a woman,” she said, “it’s important to embrace and share your perspective. Do not conform. This is paramount in being a change agent and delivering transformative results.”
  • We also talked to MILCK, the artist and activist behind “Quiet,” the song that became a viral anthem after its powerful performance at the Women’s March. “I wrote the song as a need,” she said. “I felt like I had this lump in my throat, and it was not gonna go away until I wrote this song.” MILCK told the story of how she wrote the song, put together the performance, and found her voice as an artist. Check out the interview on our Spotify for Brands Facebook page.

The next digital ad wave has begun

  • On MediaPost, our VP of Product Jay Richman shared the 5 key AdTech trends he’s noticing as we enter 2018. The biggest trend: The rise of scaled platforms has completely transformed every media industry, from print to television to radio. Read his full piece here.

Spotify's Angie Romero, Tuma Basa, and Doug Ford discuss the art of curation.

Driving culture by mixing data with curation

  • At our C Space hub, we brought some of our flagship curated playlists to life: ¡Viva Latino! and RapCaviar. The curators behind those playlists, Angie Romero and Tuma Basa, along with Doug Ford, head of Shows & Editorial, spoke on a panel about how they approach curation by combining gut instinct with smart data. Romero explained that “what the data continues to reaffirm for ¡Viva Latino! is that urban music and rhythmic pop — that works. But we have to make sure that the playlist represents the full spectrum of Latin music from around the world...and that’s where the curation component comes in. We’re lucky to have a team of editors in different markets, and we’re always sharing music and curating collaboratively.” Read more about how these playlists are more than just collections of songs — they’re cultural epicenters, with communities of devoted fans, that fuel our overall understanding of people through music.
  • At our Spotify Supper, we talked to chef, author, and TV personality Eddie Huang about how he brings music and hip-hop culture into his restaurants. Huang’s Baohaus in NYC plays booming rap from the speakers, shaking up the culture of the dining world and giving his restaurant a unique flavor. After he talked to Spotify’s CMO Seth Farbman about the impact music can have on the vibe of a room, Wiz Khalifa came out to prove it, with a performance that helped our audience of marketers and techies feel young, wild and free.

Throughout the week, we recorded season 2 of Upstream, our podcast that discovers where culture is headed by talking with the creators and brands that shape it. We'll be releasing these episodes soon — including a conversation with chef Eddie Huang himself. In the meantime, make sure to hear season 1, with guests from the New York Times, Gimlet Media, Airbnb, Dropbox and more.

So yeah, it’s safe to say that this week of inspiration at CES got us pretty pumped for the rest of 2018. Make sure to follow @SpotifyBrands on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook to stay tuned on the biggest new trends all year long.