Bad for Spotify? The ads don't bother me

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.


I can’t stand the ads. I listen to music at work a lot, and the loud, grating ads on Spotify often totally ruin the mood of whatever I’m listening to. But they’re a necessary evil, because I’m just not ready to commit to yet another monthly fee and I know Spotify has to have a viable business model to survive. I have Amazon Prime, so I check Prime music first for lovely lovely ad-free music. But Prime unfortunately does not have nearly the selection of spotify.

Yep, I can understand how at work the ads would be annoying.

The selection of stuff on Spotify is indeed scary-good. Scary to artists who are getting paid jack all for those streams.

I’m a classical music guy, and it’s hugely annoying to hear one of Spotify’s loud, obnoxious ads between the movements of a Mozart symphony or a Beethoven sonata.

Spotify also makes no attempt to target ads to particular user groups. The ads often seemed to be for somebody’s new hip-hop album, now available on Spotify!!! As if I’d care about that. It’s as if they’re trying to be as grating and intrusive as possible so that you’ll get fed up and pony up the monthly charge.

Pandora keeps trying to sell me McDonald’s or Ford Fusions in Spanish. I don’t speak Spanish, I don’t listen to Spanish/Latin music, I don’t think I’ve ever rated up a Spanish-language song but they’re adamant about selling me Big Macs en espanol.

Spotify seems to be in some trouble with the music companies for offering an free ad-tier at all and there has been loads of speculation that when Spotify has to re-up its deals with producers, they’ll demand an end of the free ad-supported tier (similar to how Apple Music or Google Play All Access just have a paid tier). So, it may not be an issue for that much longer.