PAU BARRENA,LIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP via Getty Images – FC Barcelona’s badge on the facade of the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona (left) and the logo of online streaming giant Spotify displayed on a tablet screen in Paris.
Barcelona announced March 15 that Spotify will become their main sponsor from next season.
Spotify and FC Barcelona announced a partnership making the streaming company the soccer club’s main sponsor and official audio streaming partner. Spotify’s logo will appear on the jerseys of both the men and women’s team of FC Barcelona from the 2022/2023 season, and the club’s famous stadium will be rebranded Spotify Camp Nou.
The agreement is subject to ratification by FC Barcelona’s extraordinary delegate members assembly, April 3. The deal was first reported by The Times
, saying it was worth £237 million ($310 million). If approved, it would alleviate some of the financial pressure for the heavily indebted club, and give Spotify exposure unprecedented in the streaming world. FC Barcelona has one of the biggest fan bases of any soccer club in the world.
“As we look to grow the Spotify brand worldwide, there are few partners that have this sort of scale and global reach. Being able to connect music and [soccer] fans from Barcelona to Mumbai, Jakarta to Rio de Janeiro, is really a unique opportunity,” Spotify’s chief freemium business officer, Alex Norström, told For The Record
He said, “Spotify has never undertaken a partnership at this scale before, but we realized that the magic is approaching ambitious projects at this scale. We’ve always used our marketing as a platform for artists, so it’s adding another huge stage, literally a stadium, to help artists interact with fans around the world. Barça’s games attract a huge, global viewership per season and we’re looking forward to working with them to connect artists to this audience.”
Paul Bergen/Redferns – U2 opened their “360” world tour at the Camp Nou, June 30, 2009.U2 opened their “360” world tour at the Camp Nou, June 30, 2009.
Two concerts, the second one on July 2, sold 182,055 tickets and grossed $20 million, according to Pollstar’s box office.
Joan Laporta, president of FC Barcelona, commented, “We are very proud to announce a pioneering alliance like this with a world-renowned organization like Spotify. This partnership will allow us to continue to bring the Club closer to its fans and make them feel, even more, part of the Barça family through unique experiences, combining two activities such as entertainment and [soccer], making it possible for us to connect with new audiences around the world.
“It is also a union with which we continue to take steps forward in this new era that we have started, and which demonstrates, once again, the innovative character and the constant search of excellence that distinguish Barça and have made it a unique club in the world.”
The UK’s Music Venue Trust has criticized the deal in a time when grassroots venues and artists, and indeed the entire music industry ecosystem in struggling to get back on its feet.
“For the amount of money Spotify have agreed to spend on temporarily branding FC Barcelona they could, instead, have secured a permanent future for circa 700 UK Grassroots Music Venues,” MVT wrote in a Twitter thread, March 16.
The organization has been asking the major music industry to invest back into the grassroots sector in order to help new artists grow and thereby secure the future of this business. It suggested that the sponsorship money could have invested more wisely by the major labels, which all have a stake in Spotify.
Adam Gasson/Metal Hammer Magazine/Future via Getty Images – Most of today’s headline acts began their live careers in grassroots music venues.
The UK’s Music Venue Trust has been calling for major label support, and sees the Spotify investment into FC Barcelona as a missed opportunity.
“Such an investment could have unleashed £40 million per annum into grassroots artist talent development, from which Spotify, [UniversalMusic Group, Sony Music, and Warner Music], and others are the ultimate financial beneficiaries,” MVT stated, adding, “Spotify could have taken this money, invested it in music infrastructure, kept the asset value, improved economics for every new/emerging artist, and be making a small return on a sensible and protected investment which completely aligns with the best interests of their company.”
Spotify and FC Barcelona stated that their deal would “amplify the work of artists,” by using the club’s in-stadium promotional surfaces and reaching FC Barcelona’s global TV audience. The content will be geo-targeted, according to Norström, who said “while viewers in Europe may see a message about one artist, TV viewers in India could be served a different and locally relevant message.”
Ultimately, “more fans engaging with our platform means more opportunities for creators to live off of their art, and FC Barcelona’s massive global fan base will help fuel that growth. And for fans—both music and Barça fans—we’ll be creating more interactive and exciting experiences to connect with the artists they love.
“FC Barcelona has legions of young fans across the world—in fact, most of Barça’s fans are under the age of 30, which is a hugely important audience for Spotify. Those fans also reside in some of Spotify’s fastest-growing markets, including India, Latin America, and Indonesia. Against that backdrop, Spotify will be able to amplify the work of artists to new potential fans and supporters,” Norström concluded.