Spotify Premium Subscriber Goes Viral on TikTok After Realizing He’s Paying for Ads

TikTok video Spotify Premium ads goes viral
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TikTok video Spotify Premium ads goes viral
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Photo Credit: Joshua Earle

Digital services started with the promise of offering ad-free content for subscribers. But Spotify has slowly embraced the idea of ads for even its Spotify Premium tier—irking some long-time subscribers. Now a viral rant on TikTok has people considering what Digital Music News pointed out two years ago.

When you pay for Spotify Premium and listen to a podcast—you are listening to Spotify ads. Digital Music News highlighted the irony of offering an ad-free service and peppering certain content with advertising, but now it seems the rest of the internet is catching up. A viral video on TikTok with over a million views highlights the issue pretty well.

TikTok user Mark (@moneywithmark) highlights his history with the service and their promise of ad-free content for Spotify Premium subscribers. “Just seven years ago, five years ago even, you signed up for Spotify. You were getting these ads before your music, and then you opted to buy Premium and pay them $15 a month—so you don’t have to listen to ads,” Mark begins.

“Fast forward a few years. It’s 2020. Podcasts are huge. Spotify decides, ‘we need to get in on the podcast game.’ So what do they do? They add podcasts to their platform. Awesome, cool!” Mark continues. “But guess what I get in front of all my podcasts, and in the middle of my podcast, and at the end of my podcast? Ads!”

“The ads that I already paid to remove, I’m paying to listen to,” he concludes. Yup. That’s right, Mark. Spotify is double-dipping a bit when it offers Premium users an ad-free experience—but that doesn’t extend to podcast listening. Spotify Podcasts serve up ads through an entirely different process and are considered separate by the company even though that’s not made clear to the customer buying Spotify Premium for the ‘ad-free’ experience.

“Spotify doesn’t play or include ads that interrupt the music listening experience of Premium subscribers. However, some podcast creators may include third-party advertising, host-read endorsements, or sponsorship messages in their episodes,” a Spotify rep told someone complaining about ads on Spotify in 2021.

“We provide this option to podcast creators as an extra way to help them monetize and live off of their content. As this is a good way to support content creators we don’t plan on taking this feature away from them at the moment and we also don’t enforce any mandates on who wants to activate it or not,” the rep continues.

Spotify doesn’t really make it clear beyond the Community forums that advertising is included in most of its podcast offerings—whether provided by Spotify or not.