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Spotify's Sponsored Playlists Are Ads Without the Interruptions

B2C advertisers have written and video content covered, but now they’re turning back to audio to reach the masses.

Once upon a time, you’d spend hours curating the perfect mixtape with the hopes that you’d get your crush to notice you.
Now Kia’s trying to the exact same thing, but with less work and a modern twist.
The car company is the first brand to take part in Spotify’s new sponsored playlists. While the music streaming app already allowed brands to create their own playlists, it now lets them simply sponsor their pre-curated, most popular channels. This benefits both Spotify (which, in spite of $2.2 billion in revenue last year was still at a $194 million net loss) and brands who want to carefully target Spotify’s millions of listeners.
Sponsored playlists aim to match playlists to marketing goals. “Cardio or Power Workout are perfect for a footwear brand expanding from lifestyle shoes to workout sneakers,” Spotify writes on its blog. “A QSR adding breakfast to the menu? How about Morning Commute? An entertainment company with a summer blockbuster teeny-bopper flick? Teen Party, of course. You get the idea.”
Kia, for example, is currently in beta test sponsoring Spotify’s New Music Friday playlist — a playlist that changes every week to (more importantly) millions of subscribers — to promote its revamped Sportage model. This way, it can capitalize on the idea that even though the Sportage is a few years old, it has had a recent update.
The sponsored playlist doesn’t aim to turn off listeners by bombarding them with car ads. Rather, the Kia logo is featured above the playlist and the first ad is dedicated to the Sportage — the rest runs as usual. It’s true, unobtrusive content marketing.
And according to Forbes, this model has proven effective “as the Spotify portion of the whole ad roll out for the car experienced double the click-through rate that the entire campaign did overall.”
Adweek reports that McDonald’s and Target have also signed on.
Of course, not everyone will be getting fries with their playlist. Premium subscribers, who pay $9.99 a month for an ad-free experience, won’t see any sponsored playlists. McDonald’s might need to mail them a cassette tape instead.

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