clock menu more-arrow no yes

Spotify tests interactive ads that listen for your voice

New, 4 comments

Get linked straight to a podcast or a branded playlist

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Spotify is testing ads that listeners can interact with using their voices, reports TechCrunch. The idea is that when a user hears a voice-controlled ad, they can say “play now” and be taken to a piece of relevant content. Two ads are currently being used with the new functionality: one for Unilever’s Axe products and another for a Spotify podcast called Stay Free: The Story of the Clash.

If you say the key phrase during either ad, you’ll be taken directly to the podcast being advertised or to an Axe-branded playlist, respectively. Spotify says your phone’s microphone will only be active for the duration of the ad, and it will deactivate early if you say anything other than “play now.”

At the moment, Spotify is testing the feature on both iOS and Android devices, but the obvious use case here is voice-activated speakers, which Spotify described as a “critical area of growth” in its recent earnings release.

Pandora, one of Spotify’s major competitors in the US, has also recently experimented with voice-controlled ads, building upon the voice commands it added to its service at the beginning of the year.

The new feature is currently being tested in Spotify’s mobile apps in the US, and it will only activate if you’ve got Spotify’s voice controls turned on. If you’d like to disable the voice-controlled ads entirely, then you can do so with the “Voice-Enabled Ads” toggle in the settings menu.