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How Jelani Aryeh’s Team Got 40% Of His Spotify Marquee Listeners To Save His Debut Album

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(Hypebot) — The team at IMPERIAL Music explains how they used Marquee to bring listeners deeper into Jelani’s music, while also using Canvas visuals to reinforce his brand.

A guest post from Spotify For Artists.

When aesthetic is just as important as your sound, a multi-dynamic marketing strategy is essential to building your brand personality. So when it came time for the release of now-buzzy newcomer Jelani Aryeh’s debut album, I’ve Got Some Living To Do, his team knew their plan would have to be just as creative as their artist. “He’s really a vibe,” says Daniella Risi, associate director of marketing at IMPERIAL Music. “A lot of the music happening right now is a viral moment [on social media], and there could be less artistry behind the music. The follow-up singles sometimes aren’t as successful because it was [just a viral] moment. Jelani’s the exact opposite, and we think the music really reflects that.”

The debut got off to a good start: Despite kicking off the album campaign at the height of the pandemic, a fan-fueled and pandemic-friendly music video for single “Stella Brown” instantly engaged fans and surged in popularity. But the team also wanted the album to stand on its own, particularly with the highly engaged Spotify audience. “We wanted it to be more of an album, not just a series of singles. This album was a cohesive body of work, so whether it’s ‘Marigold’ or ‘From These Heights,’ it was important to make an album that was really signature to him.”

As Jelani and his team prepared for debut day, they needed a way to build his brand by attracting listeners into his creative world. “For this album cycle, we really wanted him to connect with fans in new ways. We really wanted to build out his personality,” says Risi, explaining that Marquee – a full-screen, sponsored recommendation of an artist’s new release – helped them achieve their goal of developing deeper, more engaged listeners who would connect not only with his music, but with him as an artist. “We wanted to make sure that people not only knew who he was, [but we also wanted to capture] engaged listeners that actually went back and repeat-listened.”

The most attractive aspect of Marquee was the laser-focused precision of audience targeting, allowing the IMPERIAL team to aim for real listeners right when they’re most likely to engage. They set up the campaign to reach Jelani’s lapsed listeners in the U.S. and the U.K. — people who haven’t actively listened to Jelani’s music in the past six months but had previously — ensuring his album could reach an audience that might not have otherwise known about it. “Marquee really helped fit into our release strategy by helping reach our goal of casting an overall wider net.”

It’s that precise targeting and direct access to listeners that they found lacking in other marketing options. “If you’re advertising on a social platform, you’re not even positive what [streaming service] they’re listening to the music on,” explains Risi. “You’re linking out to a [landing page] with all the other [streaming services, and] now you have to ask them to click through to another [one]. And sometimes when they click on it, they have to sign in to Spotify, or it brings them to Spotify on [a browser]. And it’s one more step, and you get lazy and you click out. Even if I’m serviced with the ad, it’s an extra step.”

With attention spans being a hot commodity, Marquee’s seamless in-app integration removes obstacles that keep listeners from, well, listening. “[With Marquee], you’re being serviced in the platform already. It makes a lot more sense. It’s not an extra step. It’s less work on the consumer’s end, so your results are better,” says Risi.

The team knew from their Spotify for Artists data that Jelani’s audience tends to be more active on Thursdays, so they decided to start the campaign the Thursday after release day (they wanted to “circle back a few days later and hit the fans again”), ensuring another wave of listeners they didn’t reach with the initial release day marketing. The strategy paid off: intent rate for the campaign was 38%, meaning more than a third of listeners who saw the Marquee and streamed the album then saved or added a track from Jelani’s album to a personal playlist for continued listening.


With such a high frequency of saves and playlist adds, Risi’s team anticipates listeners will have a greater chance of maintaining a long-term connection with the artist. “We wanted them to save it to their libraries so, at a later date, when the playlist changed and he’s maybe not on the playlist anymore, they’re still listening to the song.”

With listeners already primed to listen to I’ve Got Some Living To Do long after the debut’s release, the looping Canvas visuals reignited interest in Jelani’s artistic vision. Tracks like “Marigold” and “Overexposed” feature retro-inspired and sun-soaked footage that complement the carefree pop sound he’s known for, while others, like opener “Trunk Song,” lend an even more personal touch.

A moving, humanesque object that Jelani has affectionately deemed the “doodle bob” runs through several tracks in alternating colors. The graphic incorporates two Js, for “Jelani” and his brother “Jordan,” and is stamped throughout the artist’s portfolio, from his album cover to his main logo and even as a tattoo. “The fact that his Canvas is his logo, it’s something very special to him, tattooed on him, and incorporated into the cover art. It was great that we could have this consistent logo that is animated and on repeat. And this is his debut album, so having his logo there was his way of introducing himself.”

Now with a rising career and an impressive batch of engaged listeners under his belt, we can safely say that Jelani Aryeh has made quite the introduction.

Connect with us

We’re excited to share more updates as we continue to expand Marquee. You can learn more in our Getting Started with Marquee guide and watch for new updates on our site.

If you’re interested in using Marquee to target audiences in the U.S., U.K., Ireland, France, Germany, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland, Austria, Liechtenstein, or Monaco, submit your information here to book a campaign through a Spotify representative. In the U.S., we’re also gradually rolling out a new campaign management tool in Spotify for Artists. If your team is based in the U.S., set your billing country to the U.S. to get added to the beta in the coming months.

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