Spotify Tests Unlimited Ad Skipping for Free-Tier Users

Spotify is a major contributor to the streaming music revolution as one of the most popular and accessible mobile platforms around. The premium version (which is less than $10 USD per month) is not only ad-free but also allows you to download music to any device so you can listen offline (though you must still use the app, of course). The free version, of course, comes with regular ad breaks.

Until now.

Spotify is currently running a test of new programming that will allow free users to skip as many ads as they want “as often as they want.”  According to Danielle Lees, who is the Head of Partner Solutions at Spotify, the idea of unlimited ad skipping is certainly an interesting one, mostly because it allows the user to seek out ads that appeal to them.  That, Lee says, actually encourages the user to engage with the ads until they do find one that compels them.

As such, Spotify wants to launch this “Active Media” campaign on a global scale.

Lee attests, “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.  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.”

“Discover Weekly,” of course, is simply a way for Spotify to introduce to more music, podcasts, or other content that they might enjoy.  It is available on the app as you peruse your available tracks and playlists.

What is most important about this program, perhaps, is that Spotify’s nearest competitor is Apple Music, and they do not offer a free service tier.  While Apple Music executive Jimmy Iovine claims that a [theoretical] free tier of Apple Music “would have 400 million people on it” would far outperform that of Spotify’s free tier user base, but that is not, as he states, what the company wants for this particular service.

At the same time, Apple CEO Tim Cook alludes that he “worries about the humanity being drained out of music.” This is a nod to Spotify’s algorithmic approach to programming suggestions for users.

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