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Rock the vote: Drake, Migos on Spotify’s Florida elections playlist

You now have a playlist, curated by music service giant Spotify, to vote in Florida. Call it Democracy: The Musical.
LUIS SANTANA  |   Times  
Drake performs at Amalie Arena during his Summer Sixteen tour in Tampa. [Saturday, August  27, 2016] [Photo Luis Santana | Times]
LUIS SANTANA | Times Drake performs at Amalie Arena during his Summer Sixteen tour in Tampa. [Saturday, August 27, 2016] [Photo Luis Santana | Times]
Published Nov. 2, 2018
Updated Nov. 2, 2018

Unbeknownst to the people, an election has already taken place.

A 20-track playlist of songs “uniquely popular” in Florida was pushed out by digital music service giant Spotify on Tuesday, Oct. 30 -- a week before the midterm election -- to accompany Floridians to the polls, in conjunction with the Voting Information Project.

Registered Spotify listeners of at least 18 years old received a pop-up message touting a “Get Vocal, Florida” playlist, which features mostly toned-down reggaeton and tranquil trap music, setting just the right mood for deliberating on those 13 constitutional amendments.

Swiping left from the title page reveals a link to gettothepolls.com, a website by the Voting Information Project in a partnership with state election officials and an organization called Democracy Works, which helps build software tools to promote voting. From there, a listener can find their polling location on a map.

According to Tamika Young, head of consumer PR at Spotify, the company is using “its massive reach and presence in its listeners' lives” to send users custom notifications to motivate them to get to the polls, “because everyone -- employees, artists, and fans alike -- deserves to have their voices heard on the things that matter most to them.”

“These playlists reflect songs that are more popular in your state or territory, as compared to the US as a whole, based on the top 200 tracks ranked in the state,” Young said.

For Florida, that custom playlist amounted to half the songs in Spanish, from artists like Marc Anthony, J Balvin and Bryant Myers. The other half comprised of mostly ambient rap tracks from the likes of Drake, Migos, Lil Wayne and Travis Scott.

Of the artists, four come from Georgia, one from New Orleans and one from Houston. At least three are from Puerto Rican, two Colombian. Only one on the list comes from Florida -- a 19-year-old Miami rapper named YNW Melly.

This is the first step in a strategy Spotify is rolling out. On Election Day, Young said users will receive a reminder that Election Day is here with a direct link to gettothepolls.com. On Wednesday afternoon, the playlist had nearly 2,500 followers.

Mike Ward, program director at Turbo Vote, a tool within Democracy Works, said when working with social media companies to increase voter engagement, the organization tries to use an activation that feels natural to the platform and the user.

“Obviously, using Spotify, a natural thing to use is a playlist,” Ward said.

Democracy Works has partnered with other companies in addition to Spotify, like Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram in the past for events like National Voter Registration Day.

“We give them every resource to help them activate their consumers to become successful voters,” Ward said.

In 2016, Spotify launched a campaign of weekly videos and podcasts, including a US Election Day 2016 Countdown playlist, aimed at educating eligible voters on election issues and encouraging them to exercise the right.

This is the first time Spotify and Democracy Works have specifically partnered with the playlist-to-link strategy.

“We’re still learning the success metrics,” Ward said.

To listen to the “Get Vocal, Florida” playlist, click here.

According to Spotify, here are some of the other custom playlists:

Get Vocal, Alaska: Alaskans having trouble sleeping through the midnight sun are uniquely into white noise.

Get Vocal, New York: Local artists Cardi B, Nicki Minaj, Jay Z, and Lady Gaga, represent their state -- as well as GASHI, a Libyan rapper and singer of Kosovo Albanian origin based in Brooklyn.

Get Vocal,Tennessee: From “Tennessee Whiskey” to “High,” Tennesseans are into having a good time.

Get Vocal, Washington: Folks in Washington are “staying woke” with “Redbone,” “1950,” and “HUMBLE.”

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