And we were just starting to like Spotify.
Thom Yorke‘s least favorite streaming music service wants to partner with brands to create “sponsored playlists” and other sly promotional features that have yet to be revealed. In what might be the world’s most incredible coincidence, this announcement comes two days after Apple announced the coming launch of iTunes radio, which will be supported by such brands as McDonald’s, Pepsi and Nissan.
The two business models are very different, of course: Apple’s partners paid for the right to run yearlong multi-format ad campaigns while the Spotify brands will make sponsored playlists like Herbal Essences‘ “Songs You Sing in the Shower” and…well, we’re not sure what else, honestly.
As much as Spotify worries about targeted ads, it will be tough for brands to reach the six million customers who pay a monthly fee for the specific purpose of avoiding advertisements. There’s talk of “promoted tracks” that would resemble promoted tweets, with car companies pushing the bands featured in their commercials—but the power of such promos would be limited.
In the meantime, brands will have to come up with creative ways to define themselves through music. For example, the playlist “Songs Employees Listen to In the Walmart Stock Room” would obviously include Sam Cooke’s “Chain Gang”, Loverboy’s “Working for the Weekend” and Sinatra’s “That’s Life”. Let your imagination run wild.