Not a music library: expanding Spotify’s internal tooling

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Nick Founder & Chief Production

27 Apr 2016  ·  5 min read


We created tooling to help the people at Spotify speed up their workflow.

We’ve been working with Spotify for quite a while now – their Belgian division even works from the same building. We wrote about the Valentine Matchmaker application we built together in an earlier post, but the past months, we’ve been working on an exciting internal tool: the Library.

What library?

As you know if you’ve ever created a free account to the music streaming service, Spotify works with advertisers who can run campaigns (with visuals, audio and video). These campaigns are seen (or heard) by Spotify’s non-premium users.

Like many larger organisations, Spotify uses Salesforce to manage these advertising sales efforts, but there were a number of problems this kind of CRM doesn’t solve. Most notably, the streaming giant did not have a centralised, global database of their campaign assets.

An example to clarify the problem. Let’s say a large advertiser asked a local office of Spotify for a visual overview of all campaigns they ran in the past six months. Because Spotify has offices all over the world, and works with independent advertising agencies to complete campaigns, such requests started off a tedious process: pulling international lists and calling coworkers and ad agencies to get access to all the necessary information and visual material.

Our Belgian Spotify team felt that there had to be a better way to handle requests like this, and ran it by us. We saw lots of possibilities for improvements, and so we sat down together to exchange ideas.

The result of that is the tool we’re happy to present today: the Spotify Library.

Managing… everything

The Library got its straightforward name from its straightforward purpose: it’s a specialised database filled with (mostly) images.

Uploading media

The tool has two main categories of functionality. The first is file management. The Library synchronises with Spotify’s Salesforce database, where it pulls essential information on clients and campaigns. Every time they launch a new campaign, Spotify’s sellers or planners can easily add the assets to the database. The uploader is aimed at screenshots first; you can specify the format and platform for each image you upload. You can also add audio and video files, though.

Using the data people assigned to the different assets and the information taken from Salesforce, you can easily search the entire database and filter your results based on the client’s name, location, a campaign’s internal status, and more.

The database’s homepage

The system also caters to the needs of planners and traffic managers, who already worked with different tools but lacked a way to easily follow up on the status of each of their ongoing campaigns. We felt that our centralised database was the best place to solve this issue, and added a simple “traffic light” indicator to each campaign entry. Now planners can indicate whether the status of a project is to-do, ongoing or done (red, orange or green) on four different crucial aspects: IO, Screens, Reports and Invoices.

Uploading reports

And those reports, like we mentioned in the example in the beginning of this post, are now also integrated in the Library. A Spotify employee can easily collect the screenshots and other materials he needs to create reports; and once the report is finished, the Powerpoint and Excel files can be uploaded in the Library as well.

Collections

The second pane of the web tool contains the collections. We created the collections as another way for Spotify’s sellers to organise, group, and share files.

Collections are, in essence, folders to group screenshots, using several useful parameters. You can use the same filters and tags to create collections as you can use to search on the home page, but you’ll also get suggestions, for instance for campaigns for similar brands as the one you’re looking for.

Creating collections

When you’re done creating a collection, you can download those files with a click of a button, but you can also generate a link to send to a client. That link will render a nice-looking collection page that gives the client access to those files, but not the rest of the platform.

Brands and bots

A smaller feature we’ve added that we’re very fond of is our own Library slackbot. The brand-bot allows you to subscribe to certain brands in the Library tool; you’ll then get a message, in a Slack channel of your choosing, every time someone adds a new screen related to that brand. This makes it easy to follow the international developments of certain brands, without having to wade through the overload of information in the Salesforce database. A nice detail (if we do say so ourselves): the icon of the Slackbot is always the logo of the brand you’re following.

The BENELUX offices of Spotify have been working with the Library tool for several months now, relying on and filling the database, helping us smooth out the last kinks and suggesting improvements, and they’re loving it. So we’re happy to announce that we’re now rolling out the library to the rest of the Spotify offices around the world, first in the UK and Germany, then the US… and then to everyone else.

And of course, we won’t stop there. We’re already working on some exciting new features, such as the addition of our Case Studies creator, which will make creating and sharing Case Studies using the material from the Library a breeze.