Spotify is currently copping a massive backlash over their saturation of Drake promotional material over the past weekend, with various Drake photos fronting numerous Spotify-curated playlists, including ones such as ‘Best Of British’ that the artist’s music doesn’t even appear in.
Accordingly to pissed-off users, this constitutes advertising, which their premium subscription promises to remove from the service. Spotify has somewhat backed off, removing this excessive marketing, and reportedly offering premium users a month free as compensation.
This raises an interesting question though: are Spotify-curated playlists, which are largely controlled by the interests of record labels who pay for placement, all advertising? Users could argue that a truly ad-free service would remove these front page prompts, and have independently-curated playlists only.
— Spotify (@Spotify) June 29, 2018
Regardless, the promotional blast seemed to have been successful, with Spotify boasting that users were streaming the album ten million times per hour throughout the entire weekend.
Considering Spotify is the largest music platform in the world, and Drake is arguably the most successful artist, this could be the largest promotional push of an artist in history. The reach was unprecedented — certainly more than a Super Bowl halftime show — but users were paying good money to have their experience compromised.
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Despite this, more Drake users streamed the album on Apple Music than on Spotify, showing that all that advertising was largely unnecessary, and perhaps harmful to the service.
Given they have offered users a free month as way of admitting they went too far, maybe this is the last time we’ll see such blatant promotion on Spotify.