Spotify’s latest attempt to monetize its service comes in the form of sponsored songs. As confirmed by TechCrunch, the music streaming company is currently testing a new system that is aimed at its free tier users.
The sponsored songs system allows labels to promote single songs which will appear above the main playlist/playback interface. The feature is opt-out, which means that it will be automatically enabled for all users.
Spotify has said that the feature is aimed at free users but premium users are also seeing the toggle and the accompanying sponsored songs. However, the difference may be that premium users will be able to turn the feature off while such a thing may not be possible for free users.
Sponsored songs are instantly playable and can be saved in an instant, allowing labels to easily promote songs, such as new titles or those which are underperforming.
Like Facebook, Spotify likes to sometimes test out new features on a select group of users before deciding whether to roll them widely or not. As such, we do not currently know if the feature will make it to the live version for everyone.
What we do know, however, is that no one should be surprised by Spotify’s sponsored songs feature. In fact, the company may well be applauded by people in the marketing industry simply for trying out a new advertising method that is not as obvious to regular users.
One thing that has become abundantly clear to everyone in the industry is that even less tech-savvy users have become increasingly aware of traditional advertising methods as well as the tools to avoid them, such as browser ad-blocks.
To put it simply, the traditional digital advertising methods will be irrelevant in the next few years. While some will persist with traditional methods, the cold hard truth is that they are just not effective anymore.
What is effective, however, is personalized and sponsored content. Spotify’s sponsored songs is a simple yet perfect example of the new kind of advertising that will undoubtedly become the new standard before being replaced by something else.
Spotify already knows a lot about its users and their listening habits and it will leverage that knowledge to promote relevant sponsored songs that they may actually want to listen to. That way, Spotify can position the feature as a sort of “win-win” situation.
Another example that is also becoming increasingly popular is influencer marketing. Take a quick look through any Instagram page with a decent number of followers and you will see branded content throughout.
The best news for marketers is that they do not even have to hide such practices. Before, advertising in an Instagram post may have been seen negatively.
Now, influencers are transparent about sponsored content but they make their followers believe that they actually support the brand/product/service or whatever else it is that they are promoting.
Marketers and advertisers should take note here. While the implementation of sponsored songs may leave something to be desired, the idea is a solid one.