Spotify’s free service has often been seen as purely a funnel towards its subscription tier, with its ads seen through a lens of whether they can irritate listeners enough to persuade them to upgrade. Spotify execs have been making more noises recently about ads playing a more positive – and hopefully more lucrative – role for the company. A new initiative called ‘Branded Moments’ is one example: Spotify Free users choosing a playlist will be able to opt to watch a vertical-video ad in return for 30 minutes of uninterrupted listening to that playlist. Advertisers will be able to target by the theme of the playlists (Gatorade for running playlists, for example) and other factors. In separate news, Spotify co-founder Martin Lorentzon has confirmed that he is stepping back from his chairman role, although he’ll stay on as vice-chairman.