The sponsored songs are showing up for some users in both the mobile app and on desktop, showing up within existing playlists.
Spotify is experimenting with a new form of sponsored content that's already rubbing some users the wrong way.
Spotify is now testing a new "Sponsored Song" ad unit that a company spokesperson tells us is "a product test for labels to promote singles on the free tier". And these Sponsored Songs will be instantly playable and saveable instead of requiring an initial ad click first.
"Sponsored Songs" are showing up in playlists now, and will theoretically be tailored to users music tastes in much the same way as the rest of the music you hear - so don't expect to hear Lady Gaga buying her way into a Metallica playlist any time soon. However, a couple users have claimed online to be premium subscribers who are getting the sponsored songs.
Messina was using Spotify Premium and saw the option to disable the ads - but the ads only show up on Spotify's free, ad-supported tier.
Users who don't actually want to see Sponsored Songs can simply opt out of it. Users say the song announces that it is sponsored before it plays, however it doesn't seem a sponsored tag is presented visually.More news: US top court rules for Microsoft in Xbox class action fight (MSFT)
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Spotify is always being pulled in three different directions: what's best for the artists, what's best for the users, and what's best for it's bottom line. This setting is turned on by default.
Opening up a new stream of revenue is very important for Spotify right now. Spotify will need to show that it can turn a profit if it intends to go public later this year.
If Spotify is able to successfully target Sponsored Songs, users might not even notice that their listening to sponsored content. Spotify has been doing a lot with its algorithm-based music matching, so this shouldn't be a huge hurdle for the music streaming service.
At the same time, Sponsored Songs hearken back to the dark days of radio payola, where labels paid DJs at radio stations to put their artists' songs on the air.
Spotify is testing Sponsored Songs, a new way for labels to promotes singles.