Spotify has resurrected QR Codes, but will anyone care?

Spotify has a pretty strong record so far in the music business. Apple Music may be able to claim exclusive content, but Spotify is by and large the leader of the subscription streaming revolution. Nearly every single change and improvement the platform has made has been heralded as a smart decision, but their latest tool for sharing may fall short.

Spotify Codes, which the company has also called Spotify Scannables, are an updated take on QR Codes. The classic square appearance has been replaced by a soundwave-like bar code, but the functionality is the same. To use the code, go to your Spotify app, click the search button, and you’ll see a camera icon in the search bar. Hover the camera over the code and the linked music should appear automatically.

The question is not if this tool works, as it most certainly does, but whether or not consumers will embrace them. As we have written in the past, the only notable QR Code driven campaigns to date have come from major brands who were able to mass produce the codes and market their availability. Small campaigns, like those run by independent artists promoting music or gigs, have for more mixed results.  

After all, this tool may be useful, but still involves switching to your camera app, which is what people didn’t like about QR codes in the first place. It adds an extra step to discovery that is just as long – if not longer – than typing something into a search box. 

The good news here is that Spotify appears to be recognizing the value of the numerous independent artists around the globe who rely on their service to make money off their music. Tools like Spotify Codes show a desire to empower people to share music, which in turn helps artists. 

Spotify Codes are now available to all users. 

Editor’s note: If you or someone you know has found success in QR code marketing, please email and share your story. 

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix and host of the company's podcast, Inside Music. He is also a public speaker known for promoting careers in the entertainment industry, as well as an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. His bylines include Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Nu Sound, and Under The Gun Review, among other popular outlets.