Spotify has been in the news a lot lately over its editorial policies and whether it's doing enough to address COVID-19 misinformation (and other offensive content) on its platform.  In order to address these concerns, about a week ago, Spotify published (for the first time) its Platform Rules and said that it would add content advisories to podcasts that include discussions related to COVID-19.  In a statement, Spotify CEO Daneil Ek said, "we are committed to learning, growing and evolving."  

While Spotify sorts out how it's going to manage its editorial policies, it's important for advertisers to understand that Spotify has rules governing what advertising runs on its platform as well -- which appear to be significantly more restrictive than its editorial policies.  

Spotify also cautions that it reserves the right to reject or remove advertising for "any reason" -- including ads that "negatively affect our relationship with our partners or that promote content that goes against our interests." 

Here are some of the highlights of Spotify's advertising policies: 

General Content Standards

Spotify's "General Content Standards" require advertising to comply with applicable law and industry codes and also require that advertising "must be of of the highest quality and standards and accurately reflect the Advertiser's brand."  Spotify also prohibits specific types of content, such as: 

  • "Shocking, sensational, obscene, disrespectful, or violent content"; 
  • "Content depicting illegal drug use or any other unlawful activity"; 
  • "Content that promotes stereotypes or inaccurately portrays or attacks and individual or group on the basis of age, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation or handicap; 
  • "Deceptive, false, misleading, or fraudulent content"; and
  • "Content that implies an endorsement or relationship between the Advertiser and any label, artist, album, or track on the Spotify Service, unless the Advertiser has independently obtained the rights to imply such an endorsement." 

Prohibited Ads

Spotify also prohibits the advertising of several categories of products, including tobacco products, recreational drugs, sexually explicit content, dangerous weapons, illegal conduct, certain cryptocurrencies, and political advertising.  

Restricted Ads

Finally, Spotify allows advertising in certain categories on a restricted or limited basis.  These categories include alcohol, gambling and skill contests, contraceptives, products or services that compete with Spotify, insurance, online pharmacies, online dating, lotteries, weight loss products, dietary supplements, financial services, religions and religious causes, and cryptocurrency exchanges and wallets.