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Streaming through the ages:

Oct 17, 2019
What do destroyed pumpkins and avocados have in common? They’re used in Spotify’s latest and highly regarded advertising campaign. Created by agency Who Wot Why, it playfully uses nostalgia to show how all your old favourite tracks are available to listen to right now, by comparing the difference between your life and taste when you were younger with how it is now. So you get:
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As well as playing on nostalgia, it highlights that Spotify isn’t just the place to hear the latest releases, but somewhere to unearth music from years gone by that you never had a chance to hear, or rediscover those forgotten favourites that have been lost to time and memory.

Before the late 2000s, the main ways you’d discover new music was through recommendations from your friends, or by digging through the CD and vinyl collections of your parents and family. But the toppling of physical media by streaming services has made finding music a different ball game. Forget the mixtape, the Spotify playlist is the way forward.

Other streaming giants are also helping to bring a wider selection of music throughout the decades to younger listeners too. Shows set in previous decades available on services like Netflix and Amazon Prime often use music from their time period to strong effect. Take Stranger Things – unarguably one of Netflix’s biggest successes – which has found a truly multigenerational audience for its 80’s centric action. There’s no doubt that some of its appeal is in its nostalgia factor, taking people back to their childhoods with analogue video games, VHS tapes and music that they enjoyed in their formative years. And the music is a vital part of the programme, bringing tracks like Hazy Shade of Winter by The Bangles and Marquee Moon by Television to viewers who may have forgotten these hits – or weren’t even alive when they came out. The same goes for recent serial killer crime hit Mindhunter and its 70s soundtrack, with songs like In Every Dream Home a Heartache by Roxy Music being put to such good use. And films are prime for this practice too, with the latest soundtrack from movies like Once Upon a Time in… Hollywood bringing music from the 60s to a new audience.

Whilst you once had to wait for the soundtrack CD to be released, streaming platforms are ready-made to give you access to every track as soon as you hear it. A quick Google of the lyrics or glance at the IMDB soundtrack page and you’ve got every song ready to be saved for listening. And you don’t even have to collate it yourself – searching for the show will bring up many playlists already created by eager fans, there to be followed, and ready to be updated with each new season. It’s almost like going through a family members old record collection, but instead it’s been curated by the film and TV creators.
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It’s not just TV and films that are an avenue for discovery. Nostalgia club nights for power ballads, 60’s, 70’s and 80’s music, nu-metal and other genres and decades are regular fixtures in venues across the country. But instead of relying on Google or Shazam to recognise the song over the sound of a busy club – or your own brain remembering some lyrics to search for the next day – you can head straight to Spotify where the organiser can create the playlist of the night, for you to relive the fun over again. And the deep dive doesn’t stop there. The sophisticated algorithms and user-friendly design of streaming platforms mean that every new track you uncover opens a rabbit hole of songs, albums and artists that you might also like, unlocking a potential treasure trove of music for you to discover.
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There may be some of the magic lost from discovering music these days, but with streaming technology far and ahead the main way that most people consume music, Spotify has made music easier to access than ever before. Good music spans generations. And while artists and creators continue to mine their old collections for the best bygone tunes, their power will never be lost.