Natalie Perez Talks Expanding to New Markets and Growing Her Daily Listening Base

Timothy "timmhotep" Cornwall / June 30, 2021

How the Argentinian singer-songwriter used Discovery Mode, Canvas, and Artist Pick to gain new North American fans and help the world ‘Detox’ with music.

Natalie Perez’s fans in her native Argentina were familiar with her face before they fell in love with her music. Known for her work as an actor on stage and in popular telenovelas since she was 12, the now 34-year-old Perez introduced the world to her talent as a recording artist with her 2017 hit “Algo Tiene.” With a sound that combines elements of Latin genres cumbia, folclore, baladas, rumba and reggaeton with pop, she’s garnered a loyal following in South America and over 600,000 monthly listeners on Spotify. To grow her already sizable audience, Natalie and her team at Believe used several Spotify tools including Discovery Mode and Canvas as part of a roll-out strategy tailored to her unique personal brand.

While her on-screen fame has drawn people to her, it’s Natalie’s off-camera authenticity that’s made them dedicated fans. Known for being open and relatable in her music and on social media, she’s cultivated a fanbase that follows her because she’s always real — never scripted or contrived. When it came time to create the sophomore album that would solidify her reputation as an artist she looked within for inspiration. “The idea behind Detox came after I wrote the first songs,” she says. “I had 11 songs written already, and I wanted to write some more, so we went to Mexico [to work] and there, the journey of the album began. When I came back from Mexico to Buenos Aires, I came back with five new songs.” When she sat with what she had written and recorded she noticed a throughline in the material. These were songs about cleansing her spirit and the catharsis that comes from the healing process — an emotional detox, hence the title of the project.

With the concept behind the project established, Natalie, her manager, and her team at Believe set out to expand on the theme and have it guide their marketing of the album. “The first thing I wanted to achieve was to take off the labels [of “actress-turned-singer”] and then invite people to do that too,” explains Nacho Santagata, Head of Artist Distribution - Cono Sur at Believe.

The pillars of the campaign around Detox were Natalie’s musical versatility, authenticity, and relatability. With her strong social media presence (2.7 million followers on Instagram) and the strategic use of Spotify for Artists tools like Canvas, Artist Pick, and Discovery Mode, her team at Believe set out to bring her message and her music to fans the world over. Natalie’s sophomore album, Detox, arrived in Nov. 2020, two years after the release of her debut album, Un Té de Tilo por Favor. Natalie and her team used Canvas to simultaneously build an experience around Detox while celebrating the second anniversary of her first album. For Detox they took a literal approach, creating animated juice bottle images for each song as if the tracks were part of a juice cleanse.

Natalie Perez incorporated [Canvas]( to celebrate her latest release and build in a new experience for her previous album.

Natalie Perez incorporated Canvas to celebrate her latest release and build in a new experience for her previous album.

“[We asked fans] what do you need to detox now?” says Ana Cordoba, Believe Editorial and Marketing Partnerships Manager - Cono Sur. “A toxic relationship? You have the different bottles for each song and people really engaged with that on Instagram [saying things like] ‘I need to detox about this friendship that is bad for me.’” They also used Canvas to tease video snippets and even to reveal the details of Natalie’s first virtual event after teasing it on Instagram and driving streams to her music along the way. And for the anniversary of her album, Un Té de Tilo por Favor, Natalie and her team updated Canvases for key tracks to refresh the album listening experience for fans.

Next, Natalie’s team used the Artist Pick tool on her Spotify profile to debut the Detox album artwork by setting it as the cover of a playlist Natalie curated. As Cordoba explains, “[Natalie] always has Easter eggs to get people to playfully come to her. Even if you follow her because of her show on Netflix [“Almost Happy”] and you stumble on Instagram, you will realize she sings and has a profile on Spotify. So she likes to use this playful way to get people to find her and to let people organically listen to her [music on Spotify].” In the last six months, her Canvases have received more than 2 million impressions on Instagram through direct shares from Spotify.

With [Artist Pick]( every artist can pin what they love — a track, album, or playlist — to their artist profile and add their own personal message, just like Natalie Perez.

With Artist Pick every artist can pin what they love — a track, album, or playlist — to their artist profile and add their own personal message, just like Natalie Perez.

After conquering the charts in Argentina and around Latin America, the next challenge was to reach new fans outside of her home market and bring her eclectic sound to North America. Discovery Mode was the tool for the job. The latest innovation from Spotify for Artists allows artist teams to select music they want to prioritize in our algorithmic recommendations to help find new listeners that will enjoy their music in Discovery Mode contexts. Natalie’s team at Believe turned on Discovery Mode for 33 of her tracks last December, a little over a month after the initial release of Detox to prolong the release moment for the album and help introduce the music to brand new listeners. The top performing tracks in Discovery Mode were off of her previous album, Un Té de Tilo por Favor. “Te Quiero y Nada Más,” a single leading up to the release of Detox, released in March 2020, got a second life when Discovery Mode helped surface it to new listeners who had shown a preference for songs with a similar sound.

Of the 33 tracks Natalie Perez’s team turned Discovery Mode on for over a period of three months, 14 performed exceedingly well and helped Natalie grow her daily listening base in the U.S. and Mexico by 57% across Spotify. Bolstered by a holistic marketing strategy that included refreshed Canvases, an innovative use of Artist Pick, and Discovery Mode, Natalie saw a 26% growth in new listeners across all markets. Track-by-track level reporting of her content in Discovery Mode has provided information for her team to know which tracks are resonating particularly well with her fans: both her day one fans and her newest fans who are just joining in on the journey. This detailed level of reporting helps Natalie’s team determine when they may want to turn Discovery Mode on or off for specific tracks.

Speaking to the success of Detox, Natalie’s team pointed out three main factors: “First of all, she has a toolkit and Spotify is really key for her. [Second,] for Detox, she had international songwriters … and the third thing that was key is being authentic and letting her words speak her mind [for her]. The people see that whenever she does or says is her personality and that what you see is what you get,” explains Santagata. Spotify tools are critical to Natalie’s marketing strategy: her team does not like to run ads on third party social platforms because they, "prefer to invest back into her music.”

Speaking to the powerful, equalizing nature of Discovery Mode overall, Believe’s CEO Denis Ladegallerie shared, “The democratizing power of Discovery Mode will enable a wider community of artists to benefit from boosting their music. It’s helping artists cross borders, especially ones from territories that historically haven’t had equal access to the global music industry stage. And, in these early tests, we’re already witnessing how Discovery Mode is helping talented Believe artists from all over the world, such as Argentina’s Natalie Perez, find their next fans. Spotify is building tools and resources that ensure success is no longer limited to a select few.”

Natalie and her team expressed how empowered they felt by the results of their Discovery Mode campaign. “First of all, I’m really grateful for the possibility to reach new friends and fans via not only the team and the people who work behind Spotify, but the tools,” Natalie says. “Having the possibility of having a tool like [Discovery Mode] to achieve these results, that’s really amazing.”

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