Spotify Showcase

What Artists Should Know About Spotify Showcase

Showcase is the newest campaign type in Spotify’s promotional arsenal, alongside Marquee and Discovery Mode.

It inserts a sponsored recommendation on the home screen of the app, like so:

Spotify Showcase preview

You pay whenever someone clicks on it, typically around $0.30-0.40 depending on your targeting.

Spotify reports that users who see the recommendation are 6x more likely to stream the promoted release. That strikes me as incredibly low considering that my campaigns mostly reached people who had never heard of Color Theory.

Showcase filters out users who intentionally streamed the release in the past 28 days, so you’re not preaching to the choir.

To be eligible, you need at least 1000 streams over the past 28 days in any one of their 30 targetable countries. Once you meet that criteria, you can target all 30 countries, as evidenced by my ability to launch a campaign in Denmark.

For now, you also have to be in the US. Well, technically your billing country must be US, which I suppose there are ways around.

I’ll walk you through campaign setup, share my results, and compare them to my Marquee and Facebook/Instagram ad campaigns to determine how to get the most bang for your advertising buck.

Launching a Spotify Showcase Campaign

You start by selecting a release, any release, to promote. Old or new, single or album, remix or original, it’s all fair game. I chose my new album.

Spotify Showcase release

Next up, pick a country and a start date. Again, if you’ve got 1000 streams in one country, you’re eligible to target all of them.

The start date defaults to three days out, and you can’t schedule it any sooner than that.

Spotify Showcase country

It says that your campaign will remain active for up to 10 days but that’s a lie. It’s actually 14.

Now for the headline. I went with the standard “You might like” since it sounds like a personalized recommendation from Spotify, not an ad.

Spotify Showcase headline

Other options not visible in the screenshot: Release Anniversary, Getting Buzz, Seasonal Vibes.

Is it just me, or is “Releasing music soon” confusing? I might think the recommendation is for the upcoming, not yet available, release.

Next up, audience targeting.

Spotify Showcase targeting Sweden

Notice that the default audience in Sweden is 7.68M, out of a population of 10.42M. In other words, every Spotify user in the country!

I was able to customize my targeting in the US, and only in the US.

Spotify Showcase targeting US

If I unchecked any one of the boxes, the audience was too small.

Spotify Showcase not enough listeners

Finally, set a budget. I went for the minimum $100 in Sweden.

Spotify Showcase budget Sweden

And $200 in the US, where I was able to target warm audiences.

Spotify Showcase budget US

Two more clicks and your campaign goes into review for up to three days. My campaigns were approved in a matter of hours, but I still had to wait three days for them to launch.

My Spotify Showcase Results

So far I’ve run three Showcase campaigns:

Spotify Showcase campaigns
See? 14 days, not 10.

Let’s start with Sweden.

Spotify Showcase Campaign Delivery Sweden

I got 289 clicks for $100, so $0.35 per click, as promised.

Spotify Showcase Audience Development Sweden

Of the 289 people who clicked on the ad, only 184 went on to listen. That $0.35 per click becomes $0.54 once you factor in what are most likely accidental clicks.

165 of those 184 were new to my music, so obviously those particular users were far more than 6x more likely to stream the release!

Spotify Showcase Performance Details Sweden

Technically the stats are still accruing, but I doubt much will change by December 2.

Spotify Showcase Intent Sweden

184 listeners x 4.95 streams per listener = 911 streams. Spoiler alert, the 7.61% intent rate is dismal compared to my other campaigns.

Spotify Showcase Other Releases Sweden

Effectively no one sought out my other releases.

And that’s Sweden! I paid $0.11 per stream with a 7.61% intent rate.

Ready for more screenshots? The custom audience reporting is far more detailed. Moving over to the US…

Spotify Showcase Campaign Delivery US

It warns that reach currently has a lag, but the click count if off too, so let’s disregard that screenshot entirely.

Spotify Showcase Audience Development US

The US campaign shows a marked improvement over Sweden, with 99 listeners for $32 versus 184 for $100.

Spotify Showcase Performance Details US

Streams per listener is about the same, but the conversion rate is nearly 3x, most likely because these listeners are already familiar with Color Theory.

I’m really confused by the following segment breakdown:

Spotify Showcase Intent US

Why does my previously active audience show 5x more intent than my super listeners? Shouldn’t it be the other way around?

Spotify Showcase Other Releases US

And yet, super listeners listened to more tracks on my other releases, so we’re back to making sense again.

475 streams plus 74 streams on my other releases = 549 streams for $32.

And that’s the US! I paid $0.06 per stream with a 20.2% intent rate.

Last but not least, Mexico. Mexico and Brazil are my second and third top countries on Spotify after the US.

Based on my experience with Facebook/Instagram ads, I figured I’d be able to get way more listeners and streams for my money, especially compared to Sweden.

I was wrong. I’ll summarize rather than bore you with more screenshots.

371 clicks resulted in 198 listeners at 3.14 streams per listener = 622 streams plus 59 streams of my other releases, for 681 streams total.

And that’s Mexico! I paid $0.15 per stream with a 9.6% intent rate.

Remember, Sweden was $0.11 per stream with a 7.61% intent rate. A much better deal if you ask me!

But my US campaign blew both out of the water at $0.06 per stream with a 20.2% intent rate.

The moral of the story? If you’re able to customize your audience, do it.

How does Showcase compare with Marquee?

Spotify Showcase versus Marquee

I’ve written about Marquee here and here, but for now all you need to know is that it’s quite similar to Showcase. The key differences are 1) it’s for new releases only, 2) the ad is a fullscreen pop-up, and 3) you can only target listeners who previously listened to your music.

I ran three Marquee campaigns for the album, to the US, Mexico, and Brazil. I’ll walk through the first two so we can compare apples to apples.

Get out the crane, it’s screenshot time again.

Spotify Marquee Delivery US

My Marquee campaigns all target my reachable audience, which is equivalent to checking all the boxes in my Showcase campaign.

Spotify Marquee Audience US

Same stats, bigger numbers.

Spotify Marquee Performance US

The conversion rate is 50% higher than Showcase, but to be fair, the album had just launched.

Spotify Marquee Intent US

Look at all those saves! Remember, they’re saving the whole 11-track album, so that translates to 244 album saves.

Spotify Marquee Other Listeners US

So, so much better.

496 clicks resulted in 456 listeners at 7.09 streams per listener = 3233 streams plus 236 streams of my other releases, for 3469 streams total.

And that’s the US! I paid $0.054 per stream with a 28.1% intent rate with Marquee versus $0.06 per stream with a 20.2% intent rate with Showcase.

Not an earth-shattering difference.

Again, I’ll summarize Mexico.

286 clicks resulted in 257 listeners at 5.36 streams per listener = 1378 streams plus 215 streams of my other releases, for 1593 streams total.

Which doesn’t sound so great until you learn that I only spent $65.78.

And that’s Mexico! I paid $0.04 per stream with a 29.6% intent rate with Marquee versus $0.15 per stream with a 9.6% intent rate with Showcase.

Now that’s a dramatic difference!

Spotify charged me $0.23 per click from Mexico for Marquee but $0.27 per click for Showcase. Inflation?

We can safely conclude that Marquee is at least as good as Showcase, and likely superior.

There’s a far smaller gap between the number of clicks and listeners, maybe because users are less likely to accidentally click the wrong button on a fullscreen pop-up.

Marquee has another advantage: if your campaign isn’t going well, you can pull the plug at any time.

My Showcase campaigns to default (non-custom) targeting both ended before I even had time to check on them. You’ll blow through your budget before you can say “trigger the algorithm” five times fast.

To ensure that this is my longest post ever, let’s compare Showcase and Marquee to Meta ads.

Spotify Showcase versus Facebook/Instagram Ads

While I did run ads specifically to the album, Spotify for Artists can’t tell me how many listeners and streams those particular ads generated.

Instead I’ll compare Showcase and Marquee to my ads directing to my self-managed This Is playlist.

It’s not a perfect comparison. There are bound to be some organic streams included, but I can safely say that when I turn off my ads, follower growth comes to a grinding halt.

Here’s a full year of data! I’m a little embarrassed to show you how much I spent, but it’s for science, right?

Meta Ads Manager Facebook Instagram Results
Meta ad results for 12 months (click to enlarge)

There are a few more countries not shown here, but those are all I spent over $100 on.

And here’s what I got for my $4210.52:

Obviously there were more than 10 songs. It seems that’s the max Spotify displays for any playlist.

15,444 clicks resulted in 8069 listeners at 11.72 streams per listener = 94,574 streams.

And that’s Meta ads! I paid $0.045 per stream.

Well, that’s Meta ads on Spotify, anyway. The beauty of Facebook and Instagram ads is that you also rack up social media followers, Bandcamp purchases, YouTube subscribers, Shazams, and streams on other services.

Traditional wisdom is that it’s best to advertise on the platform you want people to act on. Facebook ads for Facebook engagement, YouTube ads for YouTube views, etc. Asking people to leave the platform and hop over to another one creates friction.

But if we can achieve similar results to advertising on Spotify at a similar cost, I’m going to opt for the cake with icing.

Spotify Showcase Conclusions and Strategy

Let’s start with the most obvious conclusion:

At best, I’m paying $0.04 per stream. I’m likely to receive less than 10% of that back in royalties. One might argue that this post is an attempt to determine how to most effectively flush 90% of your advertising budget down the toilet.

Sure, those streams could “trigger the algorithm.” They’ll almost certainly generate more streams in the future, which “intent rate” attempts to capture. But how likely are they to produce 9x more streams?

And sure, those listeners could end up buying something, but for me anyway, that rarely happens. No one has ever bought any of my merch through Spotify, despite offering 25% off to my top listeners over the holiday.

So why bother?

That’s a question for you to answer, not me. I was just conducting research for this blog post. 😜

But seriously, while I’ll admit to a certain air of futility around the entire project, my hope is that over time I’ll build an audience for my music on Spotify — one that will stream my new releases and add them to their playlists and listen to them for years to come.

To recap, here are my campaigns ordered by cost per stream:

  1. Marquee (Mexico), $0.04 per stream
  2. Meta (tier 1 & 2 countries), $0.045 per stream
  3. Marquee (US), $0.054 per stream
  4. Showcase (US), $0.06 per stream
  5. Showcase (Sweden), $0.11 per stream
  6. Showcase (Mexico), $0.15 per stream

Remember that in all cases, I was promoting a set of at least 11 tracks, not a single! If you direct people to a single, regardless of the campaign type, you’re going to see far fewer streams per listener.

The exception is Marquee, where you can and should choose to direct listeners to your official This Is playlist with the new single placed at the top.

Based on my results, here’s what I recommend:

For cold audiences (people who have never heard your music) in tier 2 countries, use Meta ads.

I paid $0.045 per stream to tiers 1 & 2 versus $0.15 per stream to Mexico, one of the cheapest tier 2 countries to advertise to.

For cold audiences in tier 1 countries, it’s a toss-up between Meta ads and Showcase.

Your results in Meta will depend on your skill at crafting ads, and for Showcase, how eye-catching your cover art is. Test, test, test!

For expensive countries like Sweden, Showcase’s $0.11 per stream is likely better than I can do with Facebook and Instagram ads.

For warm audiences, start with Marquee to every country available and be ready to pull the plug.

I look for at least 2.5 streams per listener and a 25% intent rate.

Follow up effective Marquee campaigns with Showcase, especially if you can customize your audience.

It doesn’t need to be right away! You can wait for an important event like the start of a tour or the anniversary of the release. Whenever you’ve got money to spend, Spotify is more than happy to oblige.

Not that you asked, but if I only had $200 to promote a release, I’d spend it on Marquee in the US. Beyond email and social media, I can’t think of a more cost-effective way to reach the people most likely to listen, where they’re most likely to listen.

Have you tried Spotify Showcase? How about Marquee? Spot any flaws in my reasoning? Share your thoughts in the comments!


  1. Hi Brian, thanks yet again for putting your time and money into this incredibly extensive piece of promotional insight. Unfortunately I don’t meet the eligibility criteria for either Marquee or Showcase (less than 5k streams and UK respectively) so can’t put them to the test myself but I appreciate your honesty when talking about return on investment and accepted losses which many bloggers/vloggers gloss over as it would detract from their own PR branding. I run Meta Ads all year round on a miniscule budget but based on your findings I would like to try Marquee.. one day perhaps?! Cheers, Neil (Indelible Scars)

  2. I would love to test / use Marquee.
    But unfortunately I live in Germany so I can’t access it unless I change my billing country in my Spotify for Artist profile to Australia, Canada, France, United Kingdom, or United States. Which wouldn’t be right of course – so the question is what would happen if Spotify (or whoever) found out? Would there be legal problems?

    1. It’s a shame they haven’t rolled it out to more countries by now! I wonder if there’s a way to legally change your billing to another country? Like, using a friend’s credit card in that country. Sorry, but I haven’t really researched it.

  3. Hi Brian, I’m a long-time reader of Thanks to your posts I’ve learned a lot of useful information. I have a question about and Now that Spotify is actively removing songs and fining distributors for songs that receive botted streams, are companies that offer playlist placement violating Spotify’s new rules? Thanks for any information you can provide.

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