Spotify recently revealed that it had 2 million subscribers that were using ad blockers on its free tier. Since a user doesn’t pay anything to subscribe to that tier they’re subjected to ads that help pay for it and also return royalties to the artists. Someone who uses an ad blocker obviously doesn’t listen to any ads, but that also means that there’s no money returned to the platform or the artist as a result. Obviously not a good situation unless you’re the ad blocking user.
Spotify is now fighting back however, as it’s begun to disable the ability to play streams if it finds you’re using an ad blocker, while it attempts to get the person to do the right thing and either lose the plugin or pay up. It’s threatening to terminate the accounts if the practice continues however.
The free tier is there for one reason and that’s to entice users who don’t like the ads to upgrade to the paid premium service, and so far millions of them have. Some prefer to just listen to the brief ads since the price is right though, so the ads pay their way. Blocking them means there’s no incentive to eventually move up to the paid tier, but even worse, the artist doesn’t see any revenue nor the stream count.
That being said, Spotify thinks that it might have a way around the ad blockers. It’s testing a new format in Australia called Active Media that allows Spotify free tier users to the skip audio and video ads. The idea here is that if a listener really wants to hear the ad then they’ll listen, making it much more effective.
In the meantime, if you’re using an ad blocker on Spotify just remember that you’re depriving your favorite artists of some hard-earned royalties.