Spotify is one of the most popular streaming media platforms across the globe, as it helps millions of users enjoy their favorite tracks on a daily basis. The platform offers a freemium and a paid ‘subscription’ model to its users.

Spotify Premium subscribers can listen to music or podcasts ad-free across multiple platforms and in offline mode as well.

Even though the service is a hit among the masses, its users now seem disappointed due to some controversial decisions made by the platform.


For instance, Spotify is allegedly displaying ads to its premium subscribers, which as per their policy, should not be the case. Understandably, this has caused outrage among paid users.

Recent reports about popups

According to reports (1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10), multiple Spotify users are currently facing an issue where they are being shown pop-up ads or recommendations.

Ads are a big part of revenue for any media streaming platform and Spotify is no exception to this.

Even though the ads are generally for artist recommendations, having subscribed to the platform’s premium subscription means they should not be getting any sort of ads that may spoil their playback experience.

Web forums are filled with complaints regarding the same. A user was of the view that even though the ads appeared around news announcements, they were unexpected.


@SpotifyCares I subscribed a few weeks ago and It’s telling me I’m using It for free ?? I paid $149 for the year all kind of adds pop up what Is going on here ??

I’m paying @Spotify 11 €/mo and they still feel comfortable showing me popup ads and make it harder for me to actually listen to the music?

@Spotify I don’t like you giving me pop ups for artists I have never heard. Don’t do that, I pay for ad free.

Pop-ups aren’t ‘Ads’

Apparently, Spotify doesn’t consider these pop-ups as ‘Ads’ and advertises them as just ‘Recommendations’.


But since users keep getting pop-ups that redirect them to buy merch from other platforms, then aren’t they technically ads? For instance, some received different ads such as a Breakfast brand, Merch, and a Marketplace.

Such a repetition of ads or recommendations is frustrating for several and makes one question the point of having purchased a premium membership plan.

Podcasts ‘Third-party advertising’ issue

Some users (1,2,3,4,5,6) also complained that they are getting ads while listening to their podcasts as well.

@Spotify I’ve been a paying subscriber for almost 10 years. Reason being, no ads. In the last few months I have began to get ads in podcasts. I listen to American podcasts and I get local Australian ads in the middle of podcasts. I pay for no ads. Please remove these ads

I’m getting ads in and around my podcasts?! They’re targeted not integrated, as they’re Dutch ads in UK content.

Responding to these allegations, Spotify says it only includes ‘third-party advertising, host-read endorsements, or sponsorship messages’.


After this, irate users (1,2,3) took to Twitter to reply to the company’s take on the matter and expressed their disappointment on it.

They feel that this defeats the purpose of having bought a premium subscription in the first place.

Unfortunately, no, it doesn’t clear it up. I understand ads that are organically part of content. But these weren’t part of the content – unless Guardian advertises Dutch insurance – and I’m paying premium to not hear those? It ruins my podcast listening experience on Spotify 🙁

No it doesn’t clear it up. It is neither a podcast advert nor a host-read endorsement or sponsorship. As I said, it’s an American podcast and I get an advert for my local grocery store here in Australia.

No, it does not help. I’m also getting alot of ads for merch, concerts, etc on my home page. I pay for premium so I’m not understanding why every time I go to the home page there’s something I need to X out of.

Looking at the rage of users who seem to be troubled by the issue, Spotify should really think twice before making any such decision, as it affects its user base a lot.

That said, we will keep an eye on the issue where Spotify Premium users get pop-up ads or recommendations while listening to music or using the app and update this story as new information becomes available.

Note: You can also check out our Spotify updates and bugs/issues tracker for more information.

Featured and inline image source: Spotify

PiunikaWeb started as purely an investigative tech journalism website with main focus on ‘breaking’ or ‘exclusive’ news. In no time, our stories got picked up by the likes of Forbes, Foxnews, Gizmodo, TechCrunch, Engadget, The Verge, Macrumors, and many others. Want to know more about us? Head here.

Kanav Sood
740 Posts

I love technology and like to talk about the latest news in the Tech industry.

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