Why Does Spotify Have So Many Ads?

Spotify has become one of the most popular music streaming services, with over 573 million users globally. However, many free users often complain about the frequency of ads interrupting their listening experience. So why does Spotify have so many ads?

The Different Spotify Subscription Options

To understand the reasoning behind the ads, it helps to first look at the different types of Spotify subscriptions available:

1. Spotify Free

This is the basic ad-supported version that anyone can sign up for at no cost. The catch is you have to listen to ads occasionally.

2. Spotify Premium

This paid version has no ads and offers features like unlimited skips, downloading songs, and higher-quality audio. It costs $9.99/month.

3. Spotify Student

If you’re a student, you can get Premium for just $4.99/month. It has all the same perks minus the full price tag.

Why Ads Are Necessary for the Free Version?

Spotify’s version is filled with interruptions for a specific reason: To get you to buy Spotify Premium. Also, the ad revenue helps keep the service free, it also aims to entice users into subscribing to the premium version.

So why can’t Spotify just make their free streaming completely ad-free? There are two key reasons:

1. Licensing Fees for Music Are Extremely High

For Spotify to be able to stream all of the popular songs users want, they have to obtain licenses from record labels, publishers, artists, etc. These licensing fees don’t come cheap and cause hearing at least 2-3 ads after each song. As much as 80% of Spotify’s revenue goes towards royalties and licensing!

So all those ads help generate revenue that keeps Spotify’s vast catalog available streamed for free.

2. Most Spotify Users Opt for Free (At First)

Over 60% of Spotify members use the free ad-supported plan instead of paying $9.99 per month for Premium. And being free is a major incentive for attracting new members in the first place.

So Spotify relies heavily on ad revenue since the majority of users prefer the free tier. Without ads bringing in cash, the company’s growth would be severely hindered.

How Many Ads Do Free Users Hear?

The amount of advertising you’ll encounter primarily depends on whether you’re actively listening or not:

  • When actively listening (not just idling in the background) you get a maximum of 3-4 ad interruptions per hour. So roughly one ad break every 15-20 minutes.
  • When Spotify is just running passively in the background, ads only play about every few hours.

Either way, the ad frequency is designed not to overwhelm listeners but still generate substantial revenue.

Strategies to Reduce Spotify Ads

If you want to cut down on ads but aren’t ready to pay $10/month, there are a few clever workarounds:

  • Only download songs on mobile instead of streaming them. Downloads don’t trigger ads!
  • Listen in short enough bursts (under 30 minutes) to avoid hitting the next ad break.
  • Also, Premium Spotify does remove ads from your music listening experience.
  • Click the speaker icon during ads to mute them without fully losing your place.
  • Use Spotify’s alarm clock feature since alarm songs play ad-free.
  • Toggle to offline mode in an airplane setting to strip ads when you still have downloads available.

Just keep in mind Spotify’s free mobile app hourly listening caps which force ads regardless of those other methods.

Is Spotify Premium Worth Paying For?

Going from constant advertising to none at all is a major perk. Plus Premium unlocks bonus features like:

  1. Unlimited song skips – Freely skip as much as you want instead of just 6 skips/hour.
  2. High audio quality – Bump up to 320kbps quality vs 160kbps for free.
  3. Saving songs offline – Download limitless tracks to your phone rather than being restricted.
  4. Uninterrupted playback – Never get cut off at inconvenient moments in the middle of songs.

So if you spend significant time streaming on Spotify, it can be worth upgrading to dodge ads plus unlocking those bonus perks. Try out the 1-month free trial to gauge if you use it enough to justify $10/month.

Student Premium at just $5/month is also hard to pass up for serious users on a budget.


In the end, Spotify has to balance offering both a free and paid listening option for members. Placing ads in the free version generates essential revenue that allows Spotify to license a vast music library and continue expanding its service to over 450 million members globally and counting.

Paying $10 per month for ad-free Premium may not suit every casual listener’s budget. But for regular users who want to avoid constant interruptions, unlock additional capabilities like offline downloads, and support Spotify’s continued growth, upgrading can be well worth considering.

FAQs About Spotify’s Ads

Can you get Spotify without ads at all for free?

No, the regular free version of Spotify will always contain occasional ads. The only way to go completely ad-free is to pay for their Premium or Student Premium pricing.

Do Spotify ads get more frequent over time?

No, Spotify limits free members to a maximum ad frequency whether it’s your first month using it or after many years. Premium avoids increasing ads.

Do podcasts on Spotify still have ads?

Yes, while Premium strips ads from music playback, most podcasts on Spotify will contain ads regardless since that’s how their creators monetize episodes.

Can Spotify run with ads playing silently in the background?

No, Spotify’s apps must remain actively running to trigger ads. If closed entirely or the device is sleeping, no ads will play in the background only to resume the next opening.

Does Spotify Premium remove ads from everything?

Yes, Premium Subs remove all music playback ads. Some podcasts or other content may still contain ads though as that’s controlled independently by their creators.

Relevant Guides And Tips