Free Spotify users on desktop and mobile are getting video ads

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Spotify’s video ads are coming. The music-streaming service will soon roll out its video ad products for marketers, including a mobile product that lets listeners watch a video ad in exchange for a half hour without any further commercial interruption. Spotify will start testing the video ads in the fourth quarter with a limited number of brands and plans to extend them to all advertisers in the first quarter of 2015. Coca-Cola, Ford, McDonald’s and Universal Pictures have signed on as the ads’ first global buyers. Kraft Foods, Target and Wells Fargo will be the U.S.-only launch advertisers.

Spotify has been pushing hard to tempt paying subscribers over from the gratis realm, the result of which has led to a quarter of its 40 million user base becoming fully signed-up paying members. But that still leaves 30 million people listening for free, who support the music-streaming service in their own way, by lending their ears to audio ads and eyes to banners. Now, however, they’ll be asked to lend their eyes and ears to moving images too. Yes, Spotify is introducing its first video ad products today, for both its mobile and desktop apps, following a limited trial of the initiative that kicked off earlier this year. The adverts will constitute two separate entities. ‘Video Takeover’ lets brands ‘own’ ad breaks on the desktop, and are available in 15 or 30 second slots. Then there’s ‘Sponsored Sessions’ which are aimed at mobile users. Listeners are invited to opt-in to view short videos on their device, and in return they receive 30 minutes of ad-free music. You may remember Spotify opened mobile to non-paying users back in December. So essentially, companies will pay for your attention, and reward you with uninterrupted music.

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