Spotify has confirmed it is experimenting with allowing labels to promote songs by adding them to user playlists as sponsored content.
Paying subscribers are not included in the initial trial and this does feel like an inevitable move- though one that will prove to be divisive. It has resulted in some speculation that Spotify is gradually moving towards a social media style model of essentially charging artists and labels to target fans. They used to call this ‘Payola’ back in the good old days of radio stations! In all seriousness, it isn’t really- this is more like straight up advertising to targeted users, something that YouTube, for example already does in search functions. That said, The Gen thinks that this feature will need to remain ‘opt out’ for paying subscribers- no-one really wants to pay for an ad free service and then receive ads do they?
The ‘sponsored songs’ feature currently doesn’t appear as banners like the platform’s existing ads, but is integrated into playlists followed by a user. As initially reported by TechCrunch, the songs are chosen to match a user’s existing music tastes, are instantly playable, and can be saved without a prerequisite ad click.
Spotify said in a statement: “We are always testing new promotional tools that deliver the highest relevancy to our users”.
Spotify now has over 140 million active users but continues to operate at a loss- the company also recently revealed that while it had revenues of more than 2.9bn euros (£2.6bn) in 2016, it also reported a net loss of 539.2m euros (£471.6m).
In other Spotify news, the platform is integrating with ticketing sites AXS and Eventbrite, in addition to its existing partnerships with Songkick and Ticketmaster. Spotify users will now have access to concert and festival listings from both AEG-owned AXS and self-service ticketing platform Eventbrite, with direct ticket feeds from both services embedded within the streaming site- building further connections between streaming and live.
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