Spotify Steps Up Its Advertising Customization – Starting With Microsoft

Microsoft will target Spotify ‘freemium’ users listening to Discover Weekly.  It’s all about how AI improves our lives.

Over the past few years, Spotify has quietly amassed a huge following for its popular Discover Weekly playlist.

Three years ago, the playlist reportedly had 40 million listeners.  Listeners then had streamed nearly 5 billion personalized tracks.

Users on the free, ad-supported service – or ‘Freemium’ – listen to customized ads.  Subscribers, of course, don’t listen to ads on any playlist.

According to Spotify, Discover Weekly serves as a hook to attract users to its streaming music service.  More than half of freemium users who listen to Discover Weekly come back the following week.  They reportedly save at least one song to their personal library on the service.

The company also claims the popular playlist feature has allowed lesser-known artists to become discovered.  In 2016, over 8,000 artists, including BØRNS and Halsey, gained over a million listeners from Discover Weekly.

Now, Spotify has unveiled a new feature for advertisers.

Advertisers can now control the “end-to-end” messages freemium users receive.

Before, they only controlled these messages only on Rap Caviar.

Microsoft has signed on as the first major partner.

Speaking about the new feature, Danielle Lee, Spotify’s Global Head of Partner Solutions, explained,

Personalization has quickly gone from a nice-to-have to an expectation by consumers and marketers are craving opportunities to be part of these moments.

With our new Discover Weekly ad experience, we are positioning advertisers for success and ensuring that our fans are hearing messages that embody the ethos of discovery.

Machine learning forms a key part of Discover Weekly.  Advertisers will use that technology during the beta phase.

Microsoft’s current “Empowering Us All” campaign will showcase messages about “how AI can impact all aspects of life.”  This includes education, healthcare, and philanthropy.

Casey Weinreich, the streaming music service’s Head of Industry, Tech, added,

When people think of Spotify, they think about music – all of the world’s songs, albums and their favorite playlists right at their fingertips.  At the same time, [we’re] a technology company.

The magic with this partnership is we were able to identify a tech partner with a shared ambition to utilize technology, in this case, machine learning, to enrich our user experience.

The streaming music giant will reportedly open up this feature to other advertisers soon.  Only freemium users will hear customized messages.