Spotify targeted ads
Spotify's free subscribers will be targeted with 15-30 audio adsSpotify

Music-streaming service Spotify has announced that is has starting selling user data to advertisers. Entitled programmatic buying, the system allows marketers to access users' age, gender and music preferences and send them targeted ads.

Other music-streaming services have been sharing user data with advertisers for years, so the news that Spotify has started doing the same should come as no surprise. That said, news that a company is openly giving up users' personal information is never easy to swallow.

Targeted ads will be delivered in 15-30-second audio spots based around user profile information and the genre and playlists listened to. Fortunately, if you're a Premium subscriber, you have nothing to worry about – programmatic buying as only been enabled on Spotify's free, ad-supported version, although this still accounts for 70 million customers.

If it's any consolation, these users should at least start to hear more adverts based on their music tastes – meaning you'll be less likely to hear a promotion for the latest hardcore trance album in the middle of your classical chillout playlist.

Our advice? Fork out for Spotify's Premium service. For £9.99 a month it's hardly going to bankrupt you, and once you go ad-free you'll wonder how you ever got by without it.