Spotify Will Suspend Political Ads in 2020

On December 27, Spotify announced that it would stop selling political ads on the ad-supported version of its platform beginning in early 2020. Spotify claimed does not have the resources to properly evaluate these ads. This decision comes ahead of the November 2020 Presidential election. Prior to this decision, Spotify only allowed political ads in the United States. This will affect some of  Spotify’s 141 million monthly ad-supported users, as of its third quarter. It is unclear how much revenue Spotify makes from political advertisements.

“At this point in time, we do not yet have the necessary level of robustness in our processes, systems and tools to responsibly validate and review this content,” a Spotify spokeswoman said.

Other platforms including Twitter, Facebook and Google have taken various stances on political ads. Facebook and Google are under pressure to monitor political misinformation and to remove ads with false or misleading information out of fear that it could potentially impact the upcoming election. Twitter has banned political ads and Google will not allow targeted election ads. Facebook stated it would not fact-check political ads.

As a result of varying political ad policies on other platforms, political ads on Spotify have grown. “Spotify wasn’t a widely used online advertising platform for campaigns before,” Eric Wilson, a Republican digital strategist said. “But as other online platforms restricted their political ad inventory, advertisers were on the hunt for new options.”

The political ad pause will include “candidates for office, elected and appointed officials, political parties, political action committees (PACs) and SuperPACs,” and content in favor or against these groups or legislative and judicial results and decisions. The suspension will include the ad-supported tier of its streaming service and its original and exclusive podcasts, which it owns. The stop does not include within third-party content, such as podcasts that it does not own. This will affect those trying to reach younger voters.  

Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) and the Republican National Commission have previously had ads on Spotify.