Spotify will now serve free users with video ads on desktop and mobile

Spotify will now serve free users with video ads on desktop and mobile

Spotify has been pushing hard to tempt paying subscribers over from the gratis realm, the result of which has led to a quarter of its 40 million user base becoming fully signed-up paying members.

But that still leaves 30 million people listening for free, who support the music-streaming service in their own way, by lending their ears to audio ads and eyes to banners. Now, however, they’ll be asked to lend their eyes and ears to moving images too.

Yes, Spotify is officially announcing its first video ad products today, for both its mobile and desktop apps, following a limited trial of the initiative that kicked off earlier this year.

The adverts will constitute two separate entities. ‘Video Takeover’ lets brands ‘own’ ad breaks on the desktop, and are available in 15 or 30 second slots.


Then there’s ‘Sponsored Sessions’ which are aimed at mobile users. Listeners are invited to opt-in to view short videos on their device, and in return they receive 30 minutes of ad-free music. You may remember Spotify opened mobile to non-paying users back in December.

So essentially, companies will pay for your attention, and reward you with uninterrupted music.


For the launch of the latest Spotify for Brands initiative, the company has a number of big-name brands signed up already, including Coca-Cola, Ford, McDonald’s and NBC Universal Pictures. In the US specifically, Kraft, Target and Wells Fargo are also on board.

While Spotify does dabble with video already via its Live Sessions, and it has long been rumored to be entering the music video-streaming space, it’s interesting to see it introduce video ads on what is essentially an audio-centric platform.

For example, it’s difficult to tune-out audio adverts without turning the volume down hence this is effective, while banner-based ads will always be visible when a user is interacting with the interface. The branded videos on the desktop will only play if the Spotify client is ‘in view’, meaning it won’t play when minimized, but it’s difficult to see how the visual element of a video will grab a user when their eyes and attention wlll typically be directed elsewhere.

At any rate, these ads will start popping up later this year. Meanwhile, check out the official Spotify Video Ads promo video below.

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