For a time, it was hard to tell just how serious Spotify was about advertising.

Today, it seems increasingly clear the Swedish company wants to follow the Facebook and Google playbook.
When it launched in the US, Spotify seemed fixated on using its advertising business to drive subscriptions. But overt the past few years, the audio giant has made a string of under the radar ad tech acquisitions aimed at turning it into a programmatic powerhouse.

In a recently episode of Next in Media, which is produced in partnership with Beet.TV, Emma Vaughn Global Head of Advertising Business Development & Partnerships told me that the goal is to have millions of advertisers support thousands, if not millions of smaller creators – not unlike the long tail of brands that have made Google and Facebook dominant digital ad players.

“Right now we are still reliant on top enterprise advertisers,” she said. But with the expansion of the Spotify Audience Network, which lets brands of all sizes buy ads across a wide range of audio content programmatically.

we’ve seen leaps and bounds in this space over the past few months, but we’re still nascent compared to video for example. Vaughn told me that Span has enjoyed a 500% surge in the annual number advertisers using the platform, while tripling its revenue.

“We expect that growth number to be more exponential in the coming months.”

One question I had is whether enough small to mid-sized brands had the ability to produce audio creative, given that most don’t work with big ad agencies. Vaughn said that Spotify helps connect advertisers to third parties that can help them churn out ads quickly and efficiently, while also offering its own proprietary tools.

Here’s where things get more intriguing. Last June Spotify acquired an AI Voice tech firm, Sonantic, which is being used to power the company’s new DJ tool. The same tech was used to recreate Val Klmer’s voice in last summer’s smash Top Gun sequel.

Vaughn said she could see Somatic being used to be help create automated host reads and instant ads. “You can imaging when we invest in something like that…it could potentially be used to have Bill Simmons to do his host reads in every language,” she said. It would make audio advertising in general, “much easier to scale.”

To listen to the full episode, click here.


Spotify to Acquire AI Voice Platform Sonantic

The video on this page is a short excerpt. Listen to the full interview on Next in Media here on Spotify or here on Apple Podcasts. Next in Media is produced in partnership with Beet.TV, presented by MiQ.