Spotify is withdrawing select advertising privileges for white noise podcasts, a type of ambient noise podcast that involves looping soothing sounds like rain or static, in a bid to boost the audio streaming company’s annual profits. As reported by BloombergSpotify outlined changes to its Ambassador Ads program (which pays creators to read ads that promote Spotify content) in an email to creators on Friday, noting that white noise podcasters will no longer be eligible to participate starting 1 October.
Spotify will no longer spend its marketing budget to support white noise podcasters through ambassador ads. Bloomberg reports. However, such creators can still earn money on the platform through paid subscribers, listener support, and automated ads, which automatically place third-party ads in the shows, similar to YouTube advertising. The money “was not well spent,” according to BloombergSource, because ambient noise playlists often serve as background noise instead of engaging active listeners. We’ve reached out to Spotify to confirm the changes and will update this story when we hear back.
Some white noise podcasters earn up to $18,000 a month in advertising revenue by playing repetitive ambient sounds.
The Ambassador Ads program pays creators based on impressions, with a Bloomberg last month report noting that some podcasters can earn up to $18,000 a month through the program. According to leaked January documents referenced in the report, white noise and ambient podcasts were unintentionally increased as part of Spotify’s attempt to promote conversation-based content over music, accounting for around 3 million hours of daily listening on the platform. Spotify calculated that it could increase its annual gross profit by $38 million by removing white noise podcasts from its talk channel and redirecting listeners to other types of content, though it ultimately never followed through.
As part of the Ambassador Ads program upgrade, Spotify has risen the audience threshold required for mainstream podcasters to participate in Spotify’s 100 to 1,000 unique listeners program over the past 60 days. The company also said it is looking invite more podcasters to its Automated ads programand that participants can expect a 50 percent split of the proceeds.
It’s no surprise that Spotify is looking for ways to retain cash. The streaming giant has had mixed success in recent years, with its most recent earnings report revealing that the service has 220 million paying subscribers, an increase of 27 percent from the previous year. By comparison, though, the company is doing around 6 percent less revenue per subscriber and has announced several waves of layoffs, cutting 200 positions from its podcasting division in June.