Spotify Takes a Nostalgic Journey Through '90s Country Music
Like Garth Brooks dusting off a Stetson or Reba McEntire polishing a pair of vintage cowboy boots, Spotify puts a fresh shine on '90s country music in a fun, multifaceted campaign that breaks today.
Celebrating an era often considered the genre's finest, the work includes a microsite dedicated to the quirky charms of old-school country—plus remakes of classic tracks by diverse artists from the present day. Spotify senior marketing manager Dana Sheedy, associate creative director Kate Carter and Stink Studios spearheaded the initiative.
"We wanted to take fans on a trip back to the '90s, centered around music but also incorporating the cultural touchpoints that fueled the listening experience—the car 6-CD changer, the bold style and unique hair choices, and of course artists that defined the decade," says Sheedy.
The microsite boasts such elements and has users answer a set of prompts to generate '90s playlists. It marks a genre first for Spotify, which previously launched digital experiences for today's top pop hits and hip-hop's finest. (The streamer went big for country a while back, without the nostalgia angle, in its crop-circles campaign.)
"These '90s hitmakers featured on the microsite are still active, continuing to make hits and tour in front of millions of fans," Sheedy says. "We hope that resurfacing their catalog tracks supports their current projects and further cements their staying power."
Below, musicians Breland, Tenille Arts and Parker McCollum—each born during the decade of Bill Clinton and Sony's Discman—discuss their takes on tunes from back in the day.
Country/R&B singer Breland performs a soaring, passionate version of Deana Carter's "Strawberry Wine. Arts' rendition of the Chicks' "Wide Open Spaces" imbues the original's energy with new emotion. And McCollum puts a slick pop sheen on George Strait's "Carrying Your Love With Me."
"Gen Z and millennial listeners in particular have been gravitating towards all things '90s," Sheedy says. " '90's Country is one of our most popular country playlists—totally organic thus far, as we haven't pushed it via marketing, media or campaign efforts. So, with this project, we are fanning the flame of consumption that are already authentic to our audience."
Spotify says domestic streaming of '90s country tunes on the platform has grown 150 percent in the past three years, and 70 percent among Gen Z. What's more, Spotify's Hot Country flagship playlist ranks among its most consistently popular, with more than 5 billion streams to date.