The funny thing is, I hate ads in general. I use AdBlock Plus online. Can’t stand online ads. I don’t watch commercial TV–damn ads. I haven’t listened to NPR since 2008 or so because the ads, erm, sponsorships (and fucking pledge drives) annoyed the piss out of me. I live a fairly ad-free existence (and I work in advertising–go figure!).
Anyhoo, my friend and I have been going through the complete songs of an artist or band at a time. We did Todd Rundgren, the Rolling Stones, and now Arcade Fire. To accomplish this great work, I finally caved and put Spotify on my Mac. I was certain the ads would be really, really annoying. Instead, I find them rather charming.
Every few songs, rather infrequently in fact, an ad will sound forth. A lot of them are house ads for Premium–cuz you don’t like these ads, right?! And a lot of them are ads clearly made for others by Spotify or its agents using the same narrators. To be clear, all of these ads are dumb. Almost charmingly, naively dumb and not very competent, either. But for some mysterious reason, not very annoying. On some nights when I was sitting in my bedroom alone, listening, they were even comforting in a way. Like having the radio or TV on in the background, old-skool.
And I get pretty much all I want out of Spotify. Sure, I could pay for Premium; maybe I will. It’s cheap as hell. But I don’t need to. Maybe if I got more into the features and whatnot, that need would become visible.
So I wonder how much Spotify’s business model depends on users converting to Premium. If so, I think they might just be offering a product that’s too good as is to realize that goal.