Spotify

The Spotify logo displayed on a smartphone on Dec. 17, 2018.

Thomas Trutschel/Photothek via Getty Images

Spotify announced today (Jan. 7) that it will begin allowing advertisers to sponsor its flagship Discover Weekly playlist, which generates a 30-song playlist of new music each week based on a user’s listening habits.

The new program will launch in beta with Microsoft as the first sponsor, featuring its artificial intelligence campaign Empowering Us All. (Also, as a point of clarification, it’ll be wrapped across Spotify’s free tier, not its paid tier.)

“At Microsoft we are focused on empowering every individual and organization to do more,” Microsoft’s general manager of global media Erin Bevington said in a statement. “Our work in AI is a central part of that mission to unlock human ingenuity. Our partnership with a technology innovator like Spotify offered a way for us to effectively share that message within a personalized entertainment experience powered by AI.”

That personalization is what Spotify is selling to its ad partners for the Discover Weekly sponsorships. In a memo regarding the announcement, the company that users who regularly listen to their Discover Weekly playlist stream more than double than those who do not, which it chalks up to the personalization that the playlist offers.

“Personalization has quickly gone from a nice-to-have to an expected consumer experience that delights audiences and marketers are craving opportunities to be part of it,” Spotify’s global head of partner solutions Danielle Lee said in a statement. “Our new Discover Weekly ad experience positions advertisers for success and ensures that our fans are hearing messages that embody the ethos of discovery."

A rep for Spotify confirmed to Billboard that these sponsorships would be similar to the existing sponsorships that Spotify offers on its other editorial playlists, with a combination of in-playlist and native ads. For the former, that would include a brand’s logo within the playlist and the brand featured in each ad break, among others; for the latter, a native homepage takeover and desktop/mobile overlay that helps drive users to Discover Weekly.

“When people think of Spotify, they think about music -- all of the world’s songs, albums and their favorite playlists right at their fingertips,” Spotify’s head of industry, tech, Casey Weinreich said in a statement. “At the same time, Spotify is 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.”

Background Media: