NEW YORK: The use of music in advertising is evolving, according to a Spotify executive who believes that it is developing a role beyond that of a mere soundtrack.

Seth Farbman, Spotify CMO and a judge at this year's CLIO Music Awards, told Ad Week that music was now "something that really taps into very specific emotions and gets people to really change behaviour.

"I think that we're inside kind of a shift from music that is obvious for, say, a TV spot, to music that is highly shareable and helps people to find who they are," he added.

Within the Spotify context, Farbman reported a consistent use of music "to either share who you are or hide who you are", depending on whether listeners want to be seen as a "tastemaker" or has a guilty pleasure they prefer to keep a secret.

Either way, however, he suggested that the site's growing millennial audience was listening to as much as 2.5 hours a day and was particularly receptive to advertising as it was in "a state of emotional openness".

"Just think about why we even play music," he said: "to feel better, to expand ourselves. So that is the right audience in the right time frame in the right mindset."

And consequently, he suggested, advertisers should "take their communications a little more seriously". When they do, "real magic can happen. And then it doesn't feel like selling – it feels like sharing".

Spotify has also tapped into what Vicki Loomes of Trendwatching described in Admap as "True Self" measurement – technology that allows the user's subconscious opinions and emotions to inform a personalised experience.

The streaming site's Discover Weekly service delivers a unique custom-made mix-tape to users, based on tracks that have been played by others with overlapping taste.

Consumers are comfortable outsourcing "discovery" to effective algorithms, with the idea that brands can know them better than they know themselves, she said.

Data sourced from Ad Week, Admap; additional content by Warc staff