Spotify has been testing out sponsorship models in its music product for some time. The latest feature under consideration is Sponsored Songs. Although the name is similar to the outside branding features of sponsored playlists, this seems focused within the music industry. It could possibly mean a path to additional revenue for Spotify, but it could also raise concerns about verging into payola.
The feature is still in the experimental stages, but a user noticed a track getting specially featured and pinned to the top of a playlist and shared the image to Twitter. According to TechCrunch, the Sponsored Songs are targeted to listeners based on their established music tastes. A setting appeared at the same time for opting out of sponsored content. At this point, it seems that the sponsorships are only appearing for the ad-free tier. It’s also unclear whether or how labels might be selecting songs to be featured or how much that preferential treatment might cost.
Playlist placement has been a tricky topic for streaming services for some time. Spotify’s most popular curated playlists have millions of followers, making a large potential audience of new fans for artists who can get a track on those lists.