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Case Study: How Spotify’s Unheard Playlist amplified the role of women in music

By creating an unheard playlist with popular duet songs but muting the female vocals, Spotify sparked conversations and raised awareness about the importance of women’s voices in music and reached 39 million users.

This case study explores Spotify’s campaign, “Spotify’s Unheard Playlist,” which utilized creative playlists and influential voices to shine a spotlight on the indispensable role of women in the music industry.

Category Introduction

The music streaming industry has revolutionized the way people discover, listen to, and share music. With the rise of digital platforms, music lovers now have access to an extensive catalog of songs from various genres, artists, and languages at their fingertips. One of the prominent player in this space is the Spotify app.

Brand Introduction

Spotify, founded in 2006, is a leading global music streaming service that has redefined the way we listen to music. With its user-friendly interface and a comprehensive collection of songs, Spotify has become a household name, connecting millions of music enthusiasts worldwide. The app offers personalized playlists, curated recommendations, and a wide range of features that adapt to individual tastes and moods. 


This international women’s day, to highlight the contribution of women to the music industry, Spotify in partnership with Sony Music put out a playlist that had around 18 popular songs from across languages, but without female vocals. This initiative sparked conversations across the industry and saw engagement across artist community, consumers and marketing fraternity across social media. 


The objective was to connect with music listeners via our product and start a conversation through them on how integral women are to the music world. 


Women artists are underrepresented in the Indian Music Industry. So, on International Women’s Day, Spotify wanted to highlight this. We wanted to design a product led initiative on International Women’s Day and raise awareness about the contribution of women in the music industry. 

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Creative Idea 

We crafted the idea of leveraging the product by putting Spotify’s strength of playlists at the centre of it, and conceptualised the existence of ‘The Unheard Playlist’. The idea was to create an enhanced playlist on the platform with popular duet songs from across the country, with no female artist voice! Enter Sony Music India, one of India’s leading music labels. Spotify, in partnership with Sony Music India, brought alive a unique playlist on platform, that at first seemed like a regular playlist, but as you give it a listen, you ‘hear’ the message loud and clear!

When listeners tuned in, they were shocked at what they heard – a playlist where the female vocals were muted from popular duet songs across Hindi and other regional languages. And as they were left wondering at what they just heard, the message was revealed by top Indian women music artists like Asees Kaur, Shweta Mohan, Sanah Moidutty in the form of a video where the artists themselves spoke to the listeners, explaining that not only does a song sound strange without the woman’s voice, but the music industry itself is incomplete without women voices. They urged listeners to hear women artists, share their songs and make them ‘heard’. A smart way to make the listener realise how critical it is to have the female voice in all our favourite songs. 


Given that the songs had no female vocals, without the context of why we did it, it would have left the music listener perplexed, but with the aid of artists who weighed in on the message we were trying to embark, the challenge quickly turned into a conversation that took centre stage off platform. 


We identified popular duet songs across languages and removed the female vocals. In addition to that, we leveraged the Spotify feature of an enhanced playlist and added the short video byte from various artists, who weighed in with their point of view on the unheard playlist, re-emphasising the importance of women voices in the music industry. 


While the intent was to give the message out via the product at its core, it caught the attention of various artists, and influencers who then took to social media to share their love for The Unheard Playlist, and soon conversations from across fans started pouring in. The message was loud and clear – sometimes you need to unhear to actually hear someone. 

● Initiative reached out to ~ 39 Mn people on Instagram/ Twitter through conversations

● Trended #1 on Twitter on International Women’s Day 

● ~ 170k engagement received on posts 

● Campaign positively received by music fans

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Source: Social Samosa

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