Spotify reportedly locks white noise podcasters out of an ad program

The move will impact podcasters' earnings and boost the company's bottom line.


Spotify is said to have had a thorny relationship with the makers of white noise podcasts for some time, and now the company seems to be taking more action against them. According to Bloomberg, white noise podcasters will no longer be eligible for Spotify’s Ambassador Ads program as of October 1.

Under that program, Spotify pays podcasters to read ads for the company’s own products. Its goal is to get more people to make shows for the platform.

Bloomberg previously reported that some white noise podcasters were making as much as $18,000 per month, in large part due to Spotify itself paying them for ad placements. It recently emerged that the company considered pulling those types of podcasts from its platform entirely because they were making a $38 million dent on its gross annual profit.

Ambassador ads haven’t been very effective on white noise podcasts, according to the report, since their listeners aren’t typically as engaged as they might be with a conversational or narrative podcast. They’re said to be more passive listeners who play these shows for background noise, so Spotify was not seeing much benefit from those ads, according to the report.

The makers of white noise podcasts will still be able to make money through direct support from listeners, paid memberships and automated ads. But this move is cutting off a key source of revenue. On the flip side, it may be beneficial for listeners who just want to hear chirping birds or thunderstorms without being interrupted by someone promoting the likes of Spotify’s podcasting tools.

In addition, Spotify has raised the threshold for Ambassador Ads eligibility. Podcasts now need to have 1,000 unique listeners over 60 days (up from 100) to participate in the program.

The company also plans to ask more podcasters to join its automated ads program. Spotify said it will split revenue from these ads in half with podcast operators, moving away from its previous approach of paying a flat rate based on impressions.