Spotify have opened up their Marquee marketing tool, allowing any artists and label to apply to promote their new releases.

Spotify’s latest controversial ‘pay-for-plays’ program lets artist and labels effectively buy listeners, advertising new albums and EPs to people who have shown interest in your music. The Marquee on mobile shows as a full-screen pop-up on Spotify Free and Premium when an artist you like drops new music within the first week of release. It has helped promote new music from artists such as Georgia, Cold War Kids and The Weeknd.

More than 20% of people who see a Marquee go on to stream the release, and some dive deeper, exploring the artist’s page, connecting with their catalog and becoming bigger fans.

Marquee Performance

Artist teams, labels and licensors can track Marquee’s performance with engagement stats such as “intent rate”, showing the percentage of listeners who saw a Marquee and save or playlisted at least one track. Opporating on a cost-per-click basis, you choose the budget and how many clicks you want to get. The minimum recommended budget by Spotify is $5,000. This is out of most independent artists’ marketing budget, meaning this feature greatly promotes already successful artists over small.

The tool could be seen as an ad, so Premium users can turn off the feature, but many listeners like them as they’re personalized and non-intrusive.

Spotify Marquee has been running in beta since fall last year and only available to audiences in the US and Canada, but they’ve now opened up the feature to all artists. You can apply here.