Spotify is testing voice-enabled advertisements with Unilever brand Axe, the company has announced. The advertisements will require users to say a voice command in order to take action related to the advertisement — in this case, launching a branded playlist. The technology will also be tested with Spotify Studios and a new podcast.
The new advertisements represent an increase in Spotify’s voice technology investment, one that now extends to advertisements in addition to general audio control. Starting today, some Spotify users will get an advertisement related to the Spotify Original podcast “Stay Free: The Story of the Clash,” which will prompt users to verbally command the podcast to start playing.
The feature, which will be similar with Unilever’s Axe advertisements, will only work with the user’s microphone is enabled; the microphone is shut off after the advertisement is finished. The ads will be tested with free-tier Spotify users located in the United States.
Only users who have enabled the Spotify voice control feature will get these advertisements, and the option exists to opt-out of getting these ads via the app’s Settings > Voice-Enabled Ads menu. Particularly paranoid users can also find an option in Settings to completely disable the microphone.
Voice control has become increasingly trendy, particularly with the rise of smart speakers, and there’s one benefit to voice-enabled ads: users can accept or dismiss them without having to pick up their device. Competitor Pandora plans to start testing similar interactive advertisements later this year.