Spotify are expanding their controversial ‘pay for plays’ program

Pay for plays could either be a fantastic way for artists to find their exact audiences or it could become the ‘pay to win’ of artists.

Spotify have greenlit their promotional platform ‘Marquee’ to be expanded after a trial in the US. The feature allows artists, teams, and labels to pay to promote new songs and releases but using algorithms to target who it gets seen by.

Marquee isn’t like paying for a typical ad on Spotify, it targets streamers that Spotify has worked out to be the most likely to enjoy the music and sends them a pop-up notification. It appears for both free and Premium streamers, though paying Premium users have the option to turn notifications off.

It appears to have been a great success over the months that they have been testing the feature in the US. Music is already advertised all the time on Spotify, it makes sense that they would create a system that works better for both artists and listener.

The issue with it is that it requires artists, or their team or label, to spend at least $5,000 on advertising. That’s pricing out the majority of small and independent artists meaning that it is essentially a tool for established artists or ones with big label money behind them.

As Spotify looks to expand Marquee worldwide the stakes will only increase as more artists and teams look to promote using the tool. Because fair enough, if we can use marketing in a way that it actually appeals to people who might want to hear it we should. It’s just a shame that once again the price is too steep for the majority of smaller artists to take advantage of such great promotional possibility.

Spotify are reportedly working on another promotional tool to offer artists and labels that they will be launching soon. There are currently no specific details on this new tool.

Head of Social Media and Marketing, RouteNote

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