As music streamer competition heats up over the potential for successful IPOs and further investment, Spotify continues to distinguish itself with a bold new plan to move into video streaming.
Spotify already has an edge up on services like Pandora by offering free, on-demand music instead of just randomized playlists, but the company revealed far larger plans on Wednesday. Spotify wants to become a major source of video streaming as well as music in the coming years, and has released a new update with several major changes.
First and most importantly, customers will be able to watch streaming videos through the service. The first thing that comes to mind is music videos, and this is likely to be a major source, but Spotify appears more interested in more traditional video, especially shorter bits centered on comedy and entertainment – you know, the sort of stuff you surf YouTube for right now. The company has partnerships with Vice News, Comedy Central, The Nerdist, BBC, Slate, ABC and others at the moment.
Second, the company is updating its UI and pushing it in new directions. There’s a new feature that’s based on running – literally: It can detect the tempo of your jog and find music that matches so you can keep up the pace. Partnerships with Nike and RunKeeper will help connect such services to the greater running tech world.
Users will also have new features focused on offering particular types of music throughout the day in another customization move that is…less exciting. Spotify already offers plenty of “mood music” options based on what you are doing, so time-based playlists feel like more of the same.
Finally, the streamer announced much more investment in podcasts, now and in the future. This is more interesting, because there’s plenty of room for Spotify to become a purveyor of free, popular podcasts that currently take a bit of effort through multiple subscriptions or additional app downloads.
There’s no sign that Spotify is planning on charging for any of these new services, but no doubt tiered pricing models will figure in at some point down the road. However, for now the company has dealt a serious blow against the competition, from Apple to Jay-Z’s new Tidal service. Netflix, on the other hand, probably doesn’t need to worry much.
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