Political adverts return to Spotify for the first time since 2020 US election

"We have spent the past two years strengthening and enhancing our processes," the streaming service said

Political advertising is returning to Spotify for the first time in over two years, the streaming service has confirmed.

In early 2020, Spotify announced that it was pausing all political ad sales in the US ahead of the 2020 presidential election between Donald Trump and Joe Biden, saying in a statement that the advertisements were too hard to “validate and review.”

Now, as reported by Protocol, Spotify has said that ads of this nature are slowly set to return to the service.

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“Following our pause of political ads in early 2020, we have spent the past two years strengthening and enhancing our processes, systems and tools to responsibly validate and review this content,” Spotify said in a statement.

“We are now beginning to sell select political advertisements in opted-in third-party podcasts via the Spotify Audience Network in the U.S.”

According to Pitchfork, political ads will not play between songs for users on Spotify’s free tier, and that the service will only work with known candidates.

Spotify
The Spotify logo on a phone screen CREDIT: Chesnot/Getty Images

“At this point in time, we do not yet have the necessary level of robustness in our process, systems and tools to responsibly validate and review this content,” Spotify said in a statement to Ad Age at the time of removing political ads at the start of 2020. “We will reassess this decision as we continue to evolve our capabilities.”

Previously, the Bernie Sanders campaign and the RNC had both made sizable commitments to Spotify, and both had been expected to ramp up spending ahead of the first primary votes.

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This year, Spotify has faced major criticism after The Joe Rogan Experience, which is the service’s biggest podcast, was accused of spreading dangerous misinformation over COVID vaccines.

Neil Young demanded his music be removed from Spotify if the platform wasn’t willing to remove podcast episodes in which Rogan had broadcasted the information, and was followed by a host of artists including Joni Mitchell.

In response to the controversy, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek announced that the service would be adding content advisories to podcast episodes discussing vaccines, directing listeners to the platform’s dedicated COVID information hub. Rogan, meanwhile, apologised for the misinformation and said that he would “do my best in the future to balance things out”.

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