So what's Spotify doing?
Spotify had a major announcement yesterday to unveil some details behind their new "Spotify Now" platform. They announced that they will be adding video programming and podcasts to help provide consumers with more of a full service entertainment portal to meet more of their needs.
Their video programming will include video clips from popular television stations and podcasts may appeal to people who typically prefer to listen to talk radio type programming on their commutes and in general.
On the music front, Spotify also had some interesting new announcements. First, they will be launching a new interface that will provide even more content recommendation functionality based on people's moods. However, the most thought provoking and anticipated new music related feature is "Spotify Running," a running service that will adapt the music tempo to a listener's running speed. Spotify Running will integrate with the fitness app RunKeeper as well as a partnership with Nike + to further push the service.
What's most telling about the direction of Spotify with their new running service is that they are including original music, directly commissioned and paid for by Spotify, to include in the Spotify Running catalog. It's a first step at enterting the content ownership game which means there is now content that Spotify creates, owns, and distributes directly.
“We’re not trying to sneak simple beat-stretching past you,” said the firm’s Gustav Söderström. “We’re talking about a new format where the composition itself seems to magically rearrange to fit your current pace.”
Six tracks were presented press conference: The Chase, Lock The Flow, Seasons, Epic, Blissed Out and Burn. The fact that Burn was created specifically for Spotify by mega DJ, Tiesto, shows that Spotify is able to work with superstar artists directly.
In addition to these "magic" tracks created for Spotify Running, Spotify is also going to offer "Spotify Originals," a new catalog of Spotify-created content that the company will host exclusively on its service. It includes radio-like programs presented by artists such as Icona Pop, Jungle and Tyler The Creator – plus a ‘Dance Move Of The Day’ skit from Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls brand.
So what does this mean?
Now for my analysis. So it seems like Spotify has taken notice that when it comes to streaming, there is much more content out there than just music and that if people are going to be streaming other content, they want to capture some of that market. Beginning to offer video and podcasts may just be the first toe in the water before expanding to a fuller video streaming service offering.
Additionally, now that video is making its way into Spotify, it can allow the company to pull video into its music offering by including artists' music videos along with their catalog, which could take a stab at YouTube, who currently rules the music video streaming game.
The fact that Spotify is also going to push their original content much further and host exclusive content is a page right out of what video streaming services are doing and what TIDAL had announced as following suit in their press conference. Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu all offer exclusive content on their services. It's a great way to attract users to not just use your service for content they can get anywhere, but to get original content that is only offered in one place. This is a great way for Spotify to attract even more users if their content is compelling enough.
When it comes to their original music content, creating "magic" tracks that adapt to a person's running pace is extremely unique and innovative, but seems like it could just be the tip of the iceberg for how far Spotify can go when working directly with artists. This shows that Spotify is interested in creating and owning their own content which they can then directly distribute and can work with a big range of artists. They already own the distribution channels. Now they can also own content. This could potentially be a very early sign of where Spotify is heading.
I think that as Spotify is clearly diversifying into new content, it is important to maintain their core music service, its most widely used service in the foreseeable future. I think that streaming services are taking notice that its important to really make an artist focused effort to provide artists themselves with the best tools and services. I think that its more important than ever to offer artists ways to promote your music. With the new focus on new content, we can't forget about the artists whose music is core to streaming services! You need ways to promote your music.