Spotify on a smartphone
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Your Spotify Discover Weekly playlist may soon be curated by a company. But will it eventually turn into one giant advertisement? The streaming music outpost is now beta testing a new ad format for its weekly personalized playlist.

That means Discover Weekly is being opened up to advertisers, Adweek reports. And the first sponsored playlist to launch is an AI campaign from Microsoft. It looks like discovering brands alongside bands may soon be a thing on Spotify.

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While ads always drive Spotify’s free tier, this will be the first time Discover Weekly gets audio and video advertisements inserted between the songs. But don’t freak out, subscribers: it only effects the free version of the service.

In a statement, Spotify global head of partner solutions Danielle Lee explains the company’s rationale behind including a major brand’s outlook in the curation of music playlists. She says the move embodies a pioneering spirit.

“Personalization has quickly gone from a nice-to-have to an expected consumer experience that delights audiences,” Lee explains. “And marketers are craving opportunities to be part of it. Our new Discover Weekly ad experience positions advertisers for success and ensures that our fans are hearing messages that embody the ethos of discovery.”

Billboard notes the sponsorships would be “similar to the existing sponsorships that Spotify offers on its other editorial playlists, with a combination of in-playlist and native ads.” And complete brand takeovers of playlists are said to be in store.

“When people think of Spotify, they think about music,” Spotify’s tech industry head Casey Weinreich adds. “All of the world’s songs, albums and their favorite playlists right at their fingertips. At the same time, Spotify is a technology company. The magic with this partnership is we were able to identify a tech partner with a shared ambition to utilize technology, in this case machine learning, to enrich our user experience.”

Will Microsoft’s latest technological breakthroughs lead the way for a fully branded music-streaming experience, one approaching near-sentient capabilities? We’re on the cusp of a bold new age for the co-mingling of art and commerce.

But as a bespectacled Saturday Night Love character once said in a pitch-perfect movie spoof of gaudy corporate sponsorships, “It’s like people only do things because they get paid. And that’s just really sad.” Take it away, Garth.

What do you think of a brand-sponsored Discover Weekly playlist option on Spotify? Do you use the service’s weekly playlist when you’re listening to music on the app? Sound off in the comments section, below, with your thoughts.

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