Streaming giant Spotify announced its launch of voice-enabled interactive advertisements on May 2—a move which reflects the company’s interest in bumping up investments into voice technology. The advertisements will encourage listeners to say a verbal command and direct them to either a branded Spotify playlist or podcast. Listeners have a short duration of time to say the phrase “play now” in order to to take action; any other spoken phrase will prompt the mic to turn off and the ad to resume its normal run.
The first two ads Spotify is testing come from Spotify Studios and Unilever’s Axe. The former will take users to the Spotify original podcast Stay Free: The Story of the Clash and the latter directs them to a Unilever Axe branded playlist. The ads will only be available to a limited subset of Spotify free listeners in the U.S. and those who enabled Spotify’s voice controls. Spotify’s research into voice technology echoes CEO Daniel Ek‘s belief that voice across all platforms, “are critical areas of growth, particularly for music and audio content” as well as their desire to capitalize on smart assistants and voice-enabled home devices. Further, the company wants to maximize their ability to reach users in a time where people are minimizing screen time and consciously picking up their devices less. Spotify isn’t the only streaming player to show interest; Pandora also confirmed it would begin testing interactive ads in 2019 as well.