Spotify Is Beginning to Let Brands Sponsor Discover Weekly Playlists

The platform is starting with Microsoft's AI campaign

Spotify has never before allowed for the sponsorship of Discover Weekly, which has arguably become a key feature for engaged listeners. Spotify
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Spotify is testing a new way for brands to be discovered weekly.

Today, the company announced a beta test of a new ad format for its weekly personalized playlist (aptly titled Discover Weekly), inserting audio and video ads during ad breaks between songs on the free version of the service.

“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,” Danielle Lee, global head of partner solutions at Spotify, 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.”

For starters, the music platform is partnering with Microsoft, which is promoting its artificial intelligence capabilities in a campaign called “Empowering Us All.” (For the uninitiated, Spotify uses machine learning to create a Discover Weekly playlist of new music based on your previous listening history that debuts at the start of each week.)

While Spotify has allowed sponsored playlists since May 2016, it has never before allowed for the sponsorship of Discover Weekly, which has arguably become a key feature for engaged listeners. Spotify says Discover Weekly listeners stream music on the platform twice as much as users that don’t listen to the playlist. However, unlike many of Spotify’s ads that are programmatic, the Discover Weekly sponsors will be a full playlist takeover.

Coming off a strong 2018, Microsoft’s campaign will include messaging about how AI can be used in a variety of industries ranging from education to healthcare to philanthropy.

“At Microsoft, we are focused on empowering every individual and organization to do more. Our work in AI is a central part of that mission to unlock human ingenuity,” Erin Bevington, general manager of global media at Microsoft, said in a statement. “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.”


@martyswant martin.swant@adweek.com Marty Swant is a former technology staff writer for Adweek.
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