Spotify Tries to Guilt People into Paying for Streaming

In this recent article about the drop in digital music sales, I added a postscript pointing out an ad I’ve just seen and heard on Spotify. Here’s the takeaway, that shows up at the bottom of the Spotify app window:


It’s kind of strange that Spotify is trying to appeal to people’s sense of guilt to get them to pay for their service. Granted, if you’re listening to the ad-supported version of Spotify, then you’re not being a pirate; and that’s where Spotify gets it wrong. They accuse me of being a pirate because I’m using their free service, rather than just suggest that I’m a freeloader. I find this an insulting ad, similar to the ones I see in cinemas about not pirating movies.

In addition, given the number of ads for Spotify that I’ve heard/seen in just a couple of hours using the service today – I’ve used Spotify off and on over the past few years, but it’s been a long time since I used it – they’re having trouble selling ads. More than half of the ads I’ve gotten were for Spotify itself, meaning that they’re not selling half of their ad space.

Presumably, they make more money from premium users than they do from ad-supported users, so that’s what they’re trying to push; and the record companies would probably prefer that as well. But there’s a right way and a wrong way to do it. Rather than focus on the benefits, Spotify is trying to make people feel guilty. I think some Marketing 101 would be useful here: never insult your customers.

Hey, more ads, after just another two songs: all three for Spotify. Maybe they’re trying to annoy users enough to get them to pay…?

Note: I wonder how many of these ads are targeted at me specifically, since I haven’t used Spotify in a very long time, and just started using it again.