Spotify ads are about as annoying and invasive as advertisements get. Having three ads in a row pop up in the middle of your favourite break-up album is even worse than an ad popping up before the YouTube video of a movie trailer (an ad before an ad). Ads getting in the way of such a personal experience are part of what led Apple’s CEO Tim Cook to worry about “humanity being drained out of music.”
Spotify is aware of this, so they’ve decided to test a new feature in Australia, where free users can skip as many ads as they want. As you might expect, there are some more sinister intentions behind the new feature. The point is to allow users to skip ads, but also to track which ones they don’t skip, thus giving advertisers a more accurate picture of who they’re advertising to. As their global head of partner solutions, Danielle Lee, says:
Our hypothesis is if we can use this to fuel our streaming intelligence, and deliver a more personalized experience and a more engaging audience to our advertisers, it will improve the outcomes that we can deliver for brands. Just as we create these personalized experiences like Discover Weekly, and the magic that brings to our consumers, we want to inject that concept into the advertising experience.