Coca-Cola, Spotify Partnership: Staying Hip, With Global Reach

Logo for Coca-Cola partnership with Spotify. Image via Business Wire.

By Tina Trinh @TinaTrinhNYC

Coca-Cola and Spotify, the music-streaming service, have teamed up to bring free music to the global masses. At a press event in New York City today, the companies announced a partnership that makes use of each firm's strengths. For Spotify, the collaboration is an opportunity for greater global reach. For Coke, it's a new chance to look cool.

Daniel Ek, Spotify's founder and CEO said, "We're partnering with probably the most known brand in the world." Ek said it may seem unlikely for a young tech company to join forces with a 125-year-old behemoth like Coke, but added that the new collaboration was just as important as Spotify's current partnership with the social network Facebook.

For its part, Coca-Cola has had a long history of involvement with the music industry, dating as far back as the 19th century.

"Music has always been part of the way we engage with consumers," said Emmanuel Seuge, head of global sports and entertainment marketing for Coca-Cola. Seuge mentioned the artist Ray Charles (though many people may remember Charles more for his appearances in Pepsi commercials).

Coca-Cola has previously partnered with the Chicago-based company Music Dealers to showcase and collaborate with independent musicians and bands. Joe Belliotti, director of global music marketing for Coca-Cola, said the Spotify partnership adds a new layer to Coca-Cola's music offerings, which seek to put Coke's name in people's minds through live music events, promotions and social media.

Over the weekend, the two companies sponsored a hackathon in New York City. Developers used Spotify and Facebook's apps to develop apps centered on social, music-sharing experiences. The winning app will be introduced in time for the 2012 Olympics in London.

By renewing its focus on technology and aligning itself with a music service used by young adults, Coca-Cola is attempting to stay relevant to young consumers and their changing musical tastes. Coca-Cola also said it hopes to be the link to global music lovers who aren't yet aware of Spotify.

"There are so many people that are drinking Coke right now that are not using Spotify, and we feel like if we can help bring those people . . . it's an amazing product and they should have access to it," said Belliotti.

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