Listening to upbeat tunes at the gym? Spotify might try to sell you exercise equipment. Moping your way through a heartbreak playlist? Boxes of tissues are more likely to be advertised. From next month, Spotify is opening up more information about what you’re listening to so that brands can better target their ads.
In theory, it’s win-win: Advertisers are shopping their wares to people who might actually be interested in them, and end users get ads for products that are more relevant to them. It’s another sign of just how much information our online activities reveal about our lives in today’s digital age.
Spotify is calling the new feature Playlist Targeting, and the firm also plans to release more data to advertisers about listener age, gender, language and location. Brands will even be able to target users based on the time of day or the type of device they’re listening on.
If you don’t like the newly improved ad targeting system, you’ll either have to quit Spotify or stump up for a monthly subscription. For Spotify, it’s a way of trying to get more revenue from its free tier — it can charge more money for advertising that’s more specific and more likely to get results. The music streaming service is believed to be under pressure from record labels who want more of a return from the platform, especially from non-paying users.
The company has also released a few illuminating statistics about our listening habits. Spotify users spend an average of 148 minutes streaming music each day, and between them have created 1.5 billion playlists. The playlists curated by Spotify, meanwhile, follow patterns you could probably predict: Workout, for example, is most popular before 9am and after 5pm, and is usually listened to on mobile devices.