Spotify may soon insert ‘sponsored songs’ to your playlists

Spotify
Twindesign/123RF
A number of Spotify users have started to notice sponsored tracks appearing at the top of playlists on both desktop and mobile. It’s actually part of a new trial by the music streaming giant aimed at giving music labels the chance to highlight particular songs by select artists — for a fee.

Spotify confirmed to TechCrunch on Monday that it’s started testing sponsored songs, explaining that it’s showing them only to users of its free tier. However, it seems that some of Spotify’s paying subscribers are also seeing tracks chosen and paid for by music labels at the top of their display.

Apparently disgruntled at having sponsored content pushed his way, Spotify subscriber Liam Maloney dived into his Settings to discover that he had to toggle a new “sponsored song” button to get rid of the unwanted content, indicating it’s opt-out rather than opt-in. We’ve reached out to Spotify for clarification on whether paying subscribers are supposed to be seeing sponsored songs and will update when we hear back.

Below you can see an example of a sponsored song, with Call Me by Neiked positioned at the top of a playlist along with a “save song” button.

spotify sponsored songs
Liam Maloney
Liam Maloney

As you can see, there’s no visual note informing users that the song is sponsored, though a verbal announcement is made just before the track starts playing.

Revenue stream

If Spotify decides to make sponsored songs a permanent part of its service, it will give music labels another way to push their artists, which could ultimately lead to an increase in sales of concert tickets and artist merchandise. For Spotify, sponsored songs offers another revenue stream via its free tier as the company continues with preparations to go public, possibly later this year.

While Spotify’s money-making efforts have long included banner ads as part of its free service, last year it also started letting brands sponsor its more popular playlists by allowing them to include logos and videos. Sponsored playlists try to blend content and context, so, for example, Spotify’s “Cardio” playlist that offers “upbeat songs to keep you motivated while doing your cardio” could be “perfect for a footwear brand expanding from lifestyle shoes to workout sneakers,” the company suggested.

If you’re seeing sponsored songs but would rather not, you can disable the function on desktop by hitting Settings and scrolling down to Display Options and toggling the Show Sponsored Songs button. On mobile, go to Sponsored Content in Settings and you’ll see the same option there.

Music

Apple Music may sign up more exclusive artists with purchase of Platoon

Apple purchased London-based Platoon, which is a startup that helps independent musicians get discovered by major labels. The acquisition may help Apple Music sign up more exclusive artists.
Music

Spotify is the best streaming service, but its competitors aren’t far behind

It can be hard to decide which music streaming service is for you, so we've picked out the individual strengths of the most popular services, aiming to make your decision a little easier.
Music

Jam out in style with the 25 best playlists on Spotify

Music is the world's most potent drug, and the best playlists on Spotify will make you catch feelings. We've scoured the service for its top collections, and brought them together in one place -- for you.
Music

The best new music this week: Josh Homme, Domo Genesis, and more

Are you looking for the best new music? Each week, we scour the internet to find the most compelling new releases just for you. On tap this week: Josh Homme, Domo Genesis, Eddie Palmieri, and Jacob Collier.
Music

The best free music download sites that are totally legal

Finding music that is both free and legal to download can be difficult. We've handpicked a selection of the best free music download sites for you to legally download your next favorite album.
Computing

Block out the sun and drown out the haters with Bose’s new AR sunglasses

Bose has announced its quirkiest listening device yet, a pair of headphone-integrated sunglasses that allow you to meander the brightest places with your favorite tunes in tow. Called the Frames, the glasses will sport 3.5 hours of battery.
Home Theater

Spotify Wrapped reveals rad facts about your musical tastes and habits

The website may be a bit tough to find at first, but Spotify Wrapped tells you awesome facts about your year in listening. From how many minutes you spent jamming out to your top artists, and beyond, there's a lot to dig into.
Social Media

What do yodeling and Kylie Jenner have in common? YouTube’s top 2018 videos

In a true nod to the variety found on YouTube, the platform's top 10 list of videos from 2018 range from celebrities to sports, from perfectly tossing a picture frame on the wall to a kid yodeling in aisle 12 at Walmart.
Music

From Paul McCartney to Mariah Carey, this is the best holiday music

Whether you're a fan of classic jazz standards or modern R&B masterpieces, there's something for everyone on our playlist of the best holiday music. Pour some eggnog and curl up by the fire, this one is sure to get you in the holiday…
Emerging Tech

Feast your eyes on the wildest, most elaborate Rube Goldberg machines ever built

Want to see something totally mesmerizing? Check out several of the best Rube Goldberg machines from across the internet, including one that serves cake and other that do ... nothing particularly useful.
Cars

Best Products of 2018

Our reception desk has so many brown boxes stacked up, it looks like a loading dock. We’re on a first-name basis with the UPS guy. We get new dishwashers more frequently than most people get new shoes. What we’re trying to say is: We…
Music

Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ becomes the most-streamed 20th-century song

Queen's iconic Bohemian Rhapsody has become the most-streamed 20th-century song. Knocking Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit off the top spot, the British band's 1975 classic has now been streamed 1.6 billion times globally.
Music

From Jay Rock to Saba, these are the 50 best albums of 2018

We've spent the year listening to new albums, digging deep, and culling our master list into 50 favorites. From blockbuster releases to hidden gems, these are the best albums of 2018.
Music

Tune in to the best internet radio stations for your listening pleasure

Even in the streaming era, radio stations get some of the best exclusives and curate some of the finest handpicked playlists around. Here are the best internet radio stations, for your listening pleasure.