In a move that could potentially attract new Apple Music subscribers, Spotify is now testing disabling ads for its free ad level. “Active media” tests are currently limited to Australia, Spotify explained to Age of the announcement. However, test takers can skip audio and video ads at any time. Normally, the only way to avoid ads is to pay for Spotify Premium.
While the concept may seem initially counter-intuitive, and potentially killing a source of revenue, Spotify’s partner solution manager, Danielle Lee, suggests the company is looking to refine the ads that people are exposed to.
“Our hypothesis is that if we can use this information to fuel our broadcast intelligence and offer a more personalized experience and a more engaging audience to our advertisers, it will improve the results we can offer brands,” she said. “Just as we create these custom experiences like Discover Weekly and the magic this brings to our consumers, we want to inject that concept into the advertising experience.”
The concept has the support of at least one major advertiser, Dollar Shave Club. “As an advertiser, I love it. As a user, I like it too,” said Sam Kang, vice president of acquisitions and media for the company.
Apple Music recently exceeded Spotify in the United States In terms of paying subscribers, Spotify noted in July that it had 180 million active users worldwide, of which more than 101 million is based on advertising – the latter figure is more than twice higher than that of Apple Music. There is no free version of Apple Music beyond a three-month trial.
The skippable ads could potentially keep the ball in Spotify’s court, especially as the company’s advertising revenue grew by 20% in the second quarter.