Spotify may soon let free users skip ads

Spotify’s business model of letting users listen to music for free in return for listening to annoying, unskippable ads may be coming to an end. As a paying user myself, I’ve lived an ad-free life of Spotify for a while now, but it’s looking likely that even free-tier users may find themselves in a blissful ad-free oasis while listening to music if Spotify’s new trial works out.

Spotify may soon let free users skip ads

In a report from Advertising Age, it looks as if Spotify is preparing to run a test in Australia that will let free-tier listeners skip audio and video adverts at any time during their playback. This is designed to replace the pre-set time that users have to listen to Spotify’s unskippable adverts. The trial is looking to let users skip ads as many times as they like, as often as they like, meaning they can just jump straight back into the music they want to listen to with minimum disruption.

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The test feature is called “Active Media” and it’s designed to improve both user experience and ad spend on the platform. If you’re wondering just how skipping ads will improve ad spend, Spotify says that advertisers won’t have to pay for any ads that are skipped. Spotify’s hope is that, as its ad algorithm learns what type of adverts you prefer listening to, you’ll listen to those and that’ll make up for any shortfall in spending due to increased time with adverts you do like.

The knock-on effect of this advertising push is that Spotify can now learn what sort of adverts you like – alongside the type of music you enjoy – and then sell advertising to a far more targeted advertising portfolios to clients.

Australia is Spotify’s testbed because it’s a smaller market for the music streaming service. Any potential lost revenue due to users skipping ads will be far smaller than if they implemented it across Europe or the US for testing.

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“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,” said Danielle Lee, Spotify’s global head of partner solutions.

If the Australian plan goes well, you can expect it to roll out to new markets in time. For free-tier users, it could finally mean less annoying adverts when using Spotify – although you’ll have to exchange even more of your privacy if you still don’t fancy paying out for the music you listen to. You could always just delete your Spotify account if you’re unhappy with that though.

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