Spotify Likes to Sell Me Things


Thankfully, it isn’t this bad yet.

Lets be serious, ads are everywhere. Outlets need to make some money by way of selling ad space and airtime. Spotify goes just a step beyond normal mechanisms for serving ads and makes some pretty interesting choices about utilizing their data effectively.

I’ve gone through many pains to actively avoid adverts: I physically mute my speakers, refrain from clicking on ads and avoid “featured artists”. At one point I was even so bold as to PHYSICALLY TEAR PAGES OUT MAGAZINES  so that I could get straight to the content. Whether or not I truly benefitted from this practice is doubtful and I never really went back to reread those old issues but it felt immensely empowering to tear something apart. Even while browsing the web across all of my browsers I have installed anti-tracking and ad destroying plug-ins so that I can browse with just that much more peace of mind.

As a service, Spotify really does it right, I have no qualms with what they provide and I don’t begrudge them offering their free tier while not blasting the user with ads. With banners, using the shotgun approach for advertising music in general is fine as Spotify is a music service. Once you bring in other properties like cars, booze,  and sex, brands tend to get a little finicky as to who or what they are affiliated. While listening to Peaches Impeach My Bush, I doubt very much Walmart wants me to see an ad for them. On the business side and as a money-making entity I’m sure ad revenue is really where they look to generate profits and it would behoove them to use their data to leverage a more effective way to sell to individuals.

Spotify has access to millions of listeners habits as well as deep Facebook integration (like button) and one would think they would be better able to anticipate (sell) targeted advertising. My assumption goes thusly: advertisers dictate with money that a small collection of ads are used everywhere and eschew the opportunity to spend a small amount more crafting demographic specific media that is more likely to prove profitable when targeting those users directly. Um, why? Aside from giving me something to laugh at and then respond to, in an age of Big Data can companies afford to continue broad swath media buys at the expense of being nimble and more tactical?

I am partly to blame. I could shell out my 5 bucks forgoing the whole process of Spotify desperately generating revenue through serving me as much advertising as possible. Never have I been too keen on a subscription model for music, essentially what the 5 dollar stipend would become, because I prefer to have total control over my music.  Customized radio stations (because terrestrial radio sucks) do appeal to me because I can expose myself to new stuff legally and with no risk to my wallet. As far as mobility and taking Spotify on the road, I listen to a boatload of podcasts and trapping myself in a car for an hour-long commute is an efficient way to burn through them. My iPod stores pertinent music that I might need and if  I do randomly want a song, I am pretty sure I can make an unaided decision.

*Ads I’ve received:

*Audio and visual


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About Capmcam

An English major following the fad of sarcasm and the passion of video games and film. Witness a few of his waking moments by following him on Twitter @capmcam.

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