Spotify Is Connecting Listeners Across the Globe With New Playlist Campaign

It highlights what celebrities like Dolly Parton, Alicia Keys and more are listening to

on the left, a square that says listening together and on the right a photo of dolly parton with her name above it
Spotify's new "Listening Together" campaign is based on the phenomenon of more than one person coincidentally listening to the same song at the same time. Spotify
Headshot of Kathryn Lundstrom

In a new campaign from Spotify, the audio streaming platform is highlighting the times when, unknowingly, two users anywhere in the world are synced up and listening to the same song at the same time.

A new microsite illustrates the phenomenon in real time, pinpointing two different locations where users are simultaneously listening to the same song. The two listeners might be hundreds or thousands of miles apart.

For example, at the time of writing, there’s someone in Galway, Ireland listening to Shotgun by George Ezra at the same time as someone else in Sarasota, Fla. They’re 4,058 miles apart but jamming to the same tune, and they don’t even know it.

The platform also recruited celebrities to share the things they’re listening to while in quarantine through its “Listening Together” playlists themed for different activities. R&B singer Jojo shared a meditation playlist, R&B artist Alicia Keys shared songs to cook to and rapper Lil Yachty shared a playlist made up of the songs he listens to while gaming. Dolly Parton simply shared a collection of songs for “at home.”

text that says at home at the top with photos of selena gomez and lil yatchy

Each playlist includes a short video of the artist introducing their playlist, often sharing a bit about what kind of music is helping pass the time during quarantine.

“Listening to music brings me such hope and joy even during these hard times,” said Parton in her recorded intro. “So keep streaming joy into your day today, and keep the faith! We’ll be all right.”

Pop star Selena Gomez said in one clip that she’s been finding comfort in folk music and shared a cooking playlist that she intros in front of a brick-lined stovetop. Grimes put together a meditation playlist while pop group Haim, Brazilian singer Anitta and pop singer Normani all shared their preferred music for working out (at home, of course).

The wide-ranging celebrity participation for the campaign follows a trend of big-name celebrity cameos that crop up where they normally wouldn’t. But like all the rest of us, even the highest grossing artists, athletes and musicians are stuck at home, available for Zoom calls and video appearances that they might otherwise be too busy to participate in. And while some of those initiatives have been more well-received than others, it doesn’t seem to be slowing.

The idea for the campaign originated from media developer Kyle McDonald, who created a “Serendipity Map” for Spotify in 2014 as a freelancer, highlighting when people hit play on the same song within a tenth of a second of one another. Since then, Spotify’s user base has grown to hundreds of millions, meaning that roughly 30,000 people are listening to the same song every second, the platform said.

text that says listening together with the top of a globe at the bottom

Spotify is promoting the campaign across social and digital. The brand also noted it’s currently working on more ways for users to interact with the “Listening Together” campaign and that more information will be released in the coming weeks.

@klundster Kathryn Lundstrom is Adweek's breaking news reporter based in Austin.