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Op-Ed: Spotify Makes Right Call To Suspend Political Advertising In 2020

Political ads are rife with lies, so it is best to avoid them all together.
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Spotify has suspended political advertising going into 2020. It still may return to political advertising sometime in the year. The move only applies in the US since they do not allow political advertising in other markets.

“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,” the company said in a statement to Ad Age. “We will reassess this decision as we continue to evolve our capabilities.”

The company has taken political advertising on their ad-supported tiers in the past. As noted by Ad Age, Bernie Sanders and the Republican National Committee have both spent quite a bit on Spotify. Any third party advertising agreements can still be honored. In podcasting, only Spotify exclusive podcasts will be barred from political ads.

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Not being open to political advertising will have them lose out on quite a bit of money, especially with Michael Bloomberg pissing away millions on a failed presidential run. However, it is the right call.

With a president lying at a spectacular rate – 15,403 over 1,055 days according to the most recent Washington Post count, it is vital that their public statements be fact checked. In an upcoming president election year (not to mention the House of Representatives and one third of the Senate, plus a myriad of other races), playing to base fears and anxieties will be common. Doing so means lies or exaggerations will be rampant.

Trying to police these lies exposes yourself to potential biases and angry partisans who want you in their camp no matter what. Then there is the cult of personality with politicians who can never be wrong. Instead of navigating those shark, giant octopus and piranha-infested waters, just cut off the source entirely. Nobody wants to be listening to a song on Spotify and then Donald Trump starts yelling you about walls and immigrants. It would destroy the listening experience, though getting Premium would be the best option.

Other tech companies like Twitter and Snapchat have also turned down political ad dollars. Facebook is holding out, partially on the advice of real-life super villain Peter Theil. 

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