Streaming coloss Spotify has been showing - fir some time - its mobile listeners full-screen recommendations of new albums from the artists that they like ("Brand new music for you!" pop-ups with a "Go to Album" button to tap.
Until now, this has been a purely-editorial feature – known as -"marquee" to industry partners. Now Spotify is launching a test in the US to “let artist teams pay to sponsor these recommendations” – for Spotify’s free listeners and paying subscribers alike. So, for the first time, record companies (and other industry players) will soon be able to pay to have their artists promoted to targeted fans within the Spotify ecosystem.
The new feature is pretty similar to the way labels and artists currently shell out to get in front of fans in sponsored posts on Facebook and Instagram. In Spotify's case, the paid-for "Music For You" pop-ups will land within both free and premium accounts. These cards already exist, organically alerting fans of artists on Spotify when a major new release has arrived – but soon labels will be able to manipulate which fans see what by digging into their wallets.
But... Premium Spotify users will be able to turn off sponsored "Music For You" pop-ups, but free users will be stuck with them. By the way, sensibly, Spotify will also be limiting the number of these pop-ups that individual listeners see in a given period, so they don’t feel spammed. It's also an albums-only feature. And, with an eye on advertising regulations, the pop-up includes a 'Sponsored recommendation' disclosure, with a link for people to tap on to get more information.
Running this as a test in a single country means Spotify will be able to adapt to feedback if necessary before deciding when/if and how to roll this change out globally.
Spotify is running the test with a “select” group of artists on major and independent labels. The sponsorship will use a cost-per-click model: teams will set a maximum spend, with the ads running until the budget is used up. Specifics on what those costs will be are not yet public.
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