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Coke Finds Harmony with Music Streamer Spotify

Hot & Cool Food Trends

Atlanta-based beverage behemoth Coca-Cola has become a major sponsor/partner of the up-and-coming music-streaming platform Spotify.

Coke is doing it in a big way, too, pouring upwards of $10 million into the music streamer. Trade publication Adweek called the move “one of the bigger brand-based investments in a digital startup in recent memory.”

The soda-pop maker has done quite a bit of experimenting with Spotify’s various ad units to date, and also helped to launch the music streaming service in Germany and Australia. As reported by Adweek, the Spotify name has appeared on 100 million Coke bottles in Australia during the last five months, and got similar on-package treatment recently in Germany.

Spotify is now in 17 countries and goes up against the better-known Pandora in the U.S.

Coke appears to be fighting a music-based battle with rival Pepsi for high school and college-aged consumers. Both brands have sponsored various concert series, with Pepsi spending major dollars in the last three years at South by Southwest.

Joe Belliotti, director of global entertainment at Coke, told Adweek his company’s digital music investment is premised on the youth market. But Coke has been associated with music for decades, going back to classic tune-driven initiatives like “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing.”

“Music has always been a huge part of Coke,” he said. “I think since 2008 or 2009, you've seen us ramp up from the global perspective, and I think Spotify is the next evolution of Coca-Cola music. It's going to be interesting to see how Spotify accelerates our global music strategy, and how the brand can facilitate that conversation where people discover music and share it amongst each other.”

Belliotti hinted at what’s in store for Coke and Spotify in 2013. "You are going to see Coke creating experiences on Spotify, using the technology and music content," he said. "It will involve supporting TV commercials, PR, visuals and shopper programs—a whole integrated campaign coming to life."

“You are marrying this virtuoso social experience with music and the physical experience of Coke,” Belliotti said. “It's unusually beneficial for Spotify to be able to leverage Coke's brand equities in the markets they expand into, but it is also hugely beneficial for Coke to bring new innovative ways to access music into those markets.”

Well, their ads used to say, "Things go better with Coke," so I guess Coca-Cola counts downloaded music as one of those "things."

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