SXM Media will use podcasts and playlists to target ads


An image for an article titled Ads will soon target you based on your taste in music and podcasts

Photography: Joseph Branston / T3 Magazine / Future (Getty Images)

Thanks to Google current search kill browser cookies and Apple’s constant quest to destroy them mobile identifiers, people in billions of dollars worth of work user tracking every move online they did their best to keep track of the user every move online. While most smaller placeare space to achieve this easily trimming Google and Apple technology, others have begun to suggest their own alternatives to cookies.

One of these companies is SXM Media – a megacorp that includes SiriusXM, Pandora and Stitcher Radio – which announced on Monday to present a new type of “listener identity solution” designed to target people with ads based on the music they listen to and the podcasts they love. Details of the project are rare, except for the fact that SXM in its press release notes that it relies on signals from users who have “agreed”.

However, in the wacky world of platforms, user “consent” usually relies on the user to consent to intricate and overly invasive service terms agreement. This means that one can actually guess what these “consent” signals are.

The CEO of the company, Maria Breza, mentioned in interview about an edition that would at least include the email people use to sign in to apps like Pandora, along with all the identifiers packed into the device they use to listen to their jams. This ID will reportedly be used to track your listening behavior on various devices before being passed on to advertisers, who will then use these IDs to target you with ads for … concerts? T-shirts? Fruit bowls? Only advertisers know for sure.

There is nothing wrong with SXM not always being the best when it comes to user data. Pandora, e.g. transfers data about your age, gender, and zip code to advertisers, while podcasts in Stitcher and Pandora often linger tools for converting speech into text to help advertisers better target you with ads for, again, concerts, T-shirts, or other things you don’t need. Between these moves from SXM and Spotify equally scum moving on with listener data, it looks like one of the next privacy battles will be fought our ears.


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