Spotify's Year-End 2020 Ads Include Notes on Shuttered Music Venues

Streamer amplifies the #SaveOurStages movement

Spotify's annual year-end "Wrapped" campaign, always celebrated for its punchy outdoor ads featuring fun, data-driven headlines, gets a bit of a different look this year—with a heavy emphasis on gratitude, including a number of #SaveOurStages messages on theater marquees to raise awareness of the existential threat facing many live-music venues.

The overarching goal of this year's "Wrapped" is to recognize artists, podcasters, listeners and playlist creators who, in a particularly big year for audio, helped us all navigate the pandemic. In terms of media, though, the biggest departure is Spotify's decision to use the venue marquees as a creative canvas.

See below for several examples of venues where Spotify is putting up notes in solidarity with the existing #SaveOurStages movement—name-checking artists who played there in prior years. Spotify has partnered with the National Independent Venue Association, creator of #SaveOurStages, on the effort—amplifying the effort to recruit donations to help indie venues survive the shutdown.

The Riverside Theater, Milwaukee | Alicia Keys

Center Stage, Atlanta | Jessie Ware

Aladdin Theater, Portland, Ore. | Childish Gambino

The Ritz Ybor, Tampa | Lady Gaga

The Orange Peel, Asheville, N.C. | The Weeknd

In addition to the venue placements, Spotify has created more traditional billboards that are more in line with past "Wrapped" efforts—but also with an emphasis on gratitude. These ads reference a number of musicians as well as podcasters, and many feature data points, such as number of streams of a song in a particular city, to anchor the executions locally.

Finally, the campaign also features a series of "fan films," showing how fans might thank the artists and podcasters who helped ease the loneliness of quarantine over the course of the year.

Spotify Wrapped - “August”
Spotify Wrapped - Supernatural Podcast
Spotify Wrapped - “Savage”

On Dec. 7, Spotify will also release a series called "My 2020 By," which will feature specially curated playlists from some "vital voices of 2020." Participants will include Bowen Yang and Matt Rogers (actors, comedians, podcast hosts), Dr. Ibram X. Kendi (author and antiracist activist), Mark Clennon (photographer), Opal Tometi (activist, Black Lives Matter co-founder), Scottie Beam (podcast host), Sylvia Obell (podcast host) and Tamika Mallory (activist).

"In a year that has taken on so many twists and turns, a first reaction might be to look forward and forget the challenging times. However, that would discount all of the amazing work that creators, fans, venues and activists have poured their hearts into this year," says Dan Brill, global group creative director at Spotify. "That's why, instead of turning our backs on 2020, we wanted to give our appreciation for those who gave us hope—the people who, despite challenging circumstances, found ways to infuse magic into our world and give us hope for a better tomorrow."

The global campaign will feature over 40 artists and 15 podcasts. It will run in OOH/DOOH, connected TV, online video, social media, web and on-platform in 31 markets worldwide.

Tim Nudd
Tim Nudd was editor in chief of the Clio Awards and editor of Muse by Clio from 2018 to 2023.

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