Spotify Testing Way for Free Tier Users to Skip Ads 'Any Time They Want'

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Spotify has begun a test for select users in Australia, allowing free tier listeners to skip "any" audio and video ads that they come across "as often as they want," according to a new report by Ad Age. Currently, users who don't pay for a Spotify Premium subscription ($9.99/month) have to listen to ads and can't skip them.


Spotify's head of partner solutions, Danielle Lee, explained that unlimited ad skipping is something the company is interested in because it will allow users to hear or watch only the ads they are interested in. As such, Spotify will know which ads each user lets play to the end, "informing Spotify about their preferences in the process" and tailoring the ads to their liking.

The company calls this "Active Media," and ensures advertisers won't have to pay for any ads that are skipped, suggesting Spotify is confident it will learn and create enough compelling ads that free tier users won't want to skip. According to Lee, Spotify's hope is to debut Active Media on a global scale, but at this time the Australia-based testing is only one month old.
"Our hypothesis is if we can use this to fuel our streaming intelligence, and deliver a more personalized experience and a more engaging audience to our advertisers, it will improve the outcomes that we can deliver for brands," Lee says. "Just as we create these personalized experiences like Discover Weekly, and the magic that brings to our consumers, we want to inject that concept into the advertising experience."
In comparison, Apple Music doesn't offer a free tier for its service, instead gifting new subscribers a three month free trial of the streaming service. In an interview from May 2017, former Apple Music executive Jimmy Iovine stated that if Apple Music did have a free tier it "would have 400 million people on it" and easily eclipse Spotify, but that's not what the company wanted for the service.

Instead, Apple built Apple Music as a "special experience" for "people who are paying," with no ads anywhere on the service. Apple Music and Spotify have been rivals since the former service debuted in 2015, and in a more recent interview Apple CEO Tim Cook said that he "worries about the humanity being drained out of music," alluding to Spotify's more algorithmic approach to suggesting new music to its users.

For Spotify, the company is now trying to boost free tier users in a number of ways, and eventually convince those users to pay for Spotify Premium. The company expanded the free tier with on-demand playlists in the spring, letting those listeners pick and choose which music they want to listen to as long as the tracks appear in one of 15 curated discovery playlists. This is an upgrade from the previous way free tier listeners heard music, which was simply shuffling songs at random.

Secondly, in a major announcement during Samsung's Galaxy Note 9 presentation yesterday, it was revealed that the Spotify app will now come pre-installed on all Samsung smartphones. Because of this, many Android users will now find it easier to jump into Spotify and begin streaming their music on that service, instead of searching for the Android-based Apple Music app.

As of the last count in July 2018, Spotify has 83 million paid subscribers globally and 180 million total monthly active users if you count the free tier. Apple Music was last counted to have about 40 million subscribers, although Apple's service could have more paid users than Spotify in the United States.

Article Link: Spotify Testing Way for Free Tier Users to Skip Ads 'Any Time They Want'
 

Mansu944

macrumors 6502a
Mar 11, 2012
586
1,120
Maybe accidentally if I’m busy I’ll lisyen to a commercial. It better have some good subliminal messaging if they are going to pay for ads like this.
 

johnyslats

macrumors 65816
Mar 14, 2012
1,407
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Leeds, UK
Let’s say I like 1 ad about cars amongst 10 generic ads covering a wide range of topics and Spotify learns this. Doesn’t mean I want to suddenly hear 10 car ads before listening to the track I want. Can’t see this being successful at all for them. People are just going to endlessly skip
 

Rigby

macrumors 603
Aug 5, 2008
5,187
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San Jose, CA
They are very good at learning the user's taste in music. Now I guess they want to learn your taste it ads too. ;)

I think the Samsung news is much bigger for Spotify. Being pre-installed on the world's best selling smartphones should allow them to match Apple Music's "inbuilt" advantage and increase their reach even more.
 

keysofanxiety

macrumors G3
Nov 23, 2011
9,536
25,262
I don't think that's right. I will end up having nothing but adds since I will skeap every single one of them.
Then eventually if you'd want to listen to music, you'd stop pressing skip and just wait for a 30 second add to play. Even a lab rat would figure that out after a while :p

I think this is what they'll be doing. If you skip the ad it plays another ad. Every skip will go to a different ad. At least that's how I'm reading it. Could be wrong.
 

Regbial

macrumors 6502a
Jul 10, 2010
575
415
Wow... So how young (and naive) is Spotify’s CEO? I’m guessing s/he is a bright eyed millennial... lol sorry
 

jarman92

macrumors 6502a
Nov 13, 2014
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1,245
"Spotify will know which ads each user lets play to the end."

I can save you a bunch of time and money, Spotify: the answer is none. Users will let no ads play to the end.
[doublepost=1533914447][/doublepost]
I think they mean you can skip a specific ad, and instead hear a different ad. Not that you can skip listening to ads altogether.
That makes a lot more sense, but is not at all clear from this article.
 

FairlyKors

macrumors regular
Jun 21, 2018
179
186
Staines, East London
"Spotify will know which ads each user lets play to the end."

I can save you a bunch of time and money, Spotify: the answer is none. Users will let no ads play to the end.
[doublepost=1533914447][/doublepost]

That makes a lot more sense, but is not at all clear from this article.
I use both services, but I prefer Spotify over Apple Music. The interface works better, there are most options (like an actual EQ— which alone would almost justify Spotify) and a an “extreme quality” option which sounds really good. I don’t pay too much attention to suggested music, so I don’t know whose robots are better at guessing people’s preferences.

Apple Music feels clean, but also a little dumbed down and with a slightly generic feel to it. It’s good to have competition, though. (I hope Apple doesn’t stomp on Spotify.)
 

BvizioN

macrumors 603
Mar 16, 2012
5,168
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Manchester, UK
Then eventually if you'd want to listen to music, you'd stop pressing skip and just wait for a 30 second add to play. Even a lab rat would figure that out after a while :p

I think this is what they'll be doing. If you skip the ad it plays another ad. Every skip will go to a different ad. At least that's how I'm reading it. Could be wrong.
But that wouldn't improve anything (assuming improvement is Spotify's goal) A user will end up skeeping through adds rather just getting on with whatever and then listening to the music. But I could also be wrong!! Needs to be clarified.
 

0970373

Suspended
Mar 15, 2008
2,727
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It's just another metric to gather and sell. That's why I don't mind that Apple doesn't have a free tier.
 

oneMadRssn

macrumors 603
Sep 8, 2011
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Europe
I don't think that's right. I will end up having nothing but adds since I will skeap every single one of them.
As many people pointed out, it makes no sense for Spotify to allow users to skip ads altogether. If you they need a free user to hear X ads every Y minutes of music to make it work financially, they will keep that ratio. This is just about getting feedback on specific ads and targeting users better.

If you keep pressing skip on an ad, you will keep getting another ad. Eventually you'll have to listen to an ad if you want the music to return.
 
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BvizioN

macrumors 603
Mar 16, 2012
5,168
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Manchester, UK
As many people pointed out, it makes no sense for Spotify to allow users to skip ads altogether. If you they need a free user to hear X ads every Y minutes of music to make it work financially, they will keep that ratio. This is just about getting feedback on specific ads and targeting users better.

If you keep pressing skip on an ad, you will keep getting another ad. Eventually you'll have to listen to an ad if you want the music to return.
I get what you are saying but I just can't see how that would work! In general people are in Spotify app to listen to music and not watch our listen to adds. When an add start, generally they wait till it ends so they can continue listening to the music. Most people have no interest in adds. Skeeping through adds to find one that you like makes just no sense.
 

oneMadRssn

macrumors 603
Sep 8, 2011
5,187
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Europe
I get what you are saying but I just can't see how that would work! In general people are in Spotify app to listen to music and not watch our listen to adds. When an add start, generally they wait till it ends so they can continue listening to the music. Most people have no interest in adds. Skeeping through adds to find one that you like makes just no sense.
I think that's why they're only doing a limited trial of this in select areas for now. If it turns out nobody would skip an ad, they won't roll out the feature world-wide. Nothing wrong with trying new things.
 
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