Spotify partners with Maker, Vice and more on video integration

Could streaming video be a game-changer for the popular, but struggling music service?
May 20, 2015

After weeks of speculation, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek has finally confirmed his music-streaming company’s newly enhanced service will, indeed, feature video content, along with news and podcast integration.

The new Spotify will go live June 8, and will also introduce more customization options for music playlists, Spotify’s original bread and butter.

In a video conference live-streamed from New York, Ek confirmed that original content will be part of Spotify’s new service, rolling out sometime over the coming months.

“Most of it is built around music,” Ek said from the event. He referenced a video series called Amy Poehler’s Dance Move of the Day, which would feature the former Parks and Recreation and SNL star jamming to pop tunes from Spotify’s library. No official launch dates were announced.

Video content showcased in Spotify’s press event included content from Vice, Nerdist, MTV, EpicTV, Maker Studios, TBS, Turner and Comedy Central. Stars of Comedy Central’s Broad City, Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer (pictured), were present at the event to promote the clips of their show that would be available on Spotify.

One of the providers of that video content is London-based Rightster, a video network that distributes content from Condé Nast and The Guardian.

Damian Collier, Rightster SVP, business affairs and enterprise, spoke with StreamDaily about the details of the new service, which will offer users customized hybrid content (music and video) tailored to their activity.

“They’re creating content and music playlists that fit together and support moments within peoples’ day,” said Collier. “For example, you may be on the train to work, and (that’s) one moment in the day when you may be served up with suitable video and music content. Or it may be mid-afternoon and you’re having to get that pick-me-up from music and video.”

Collier confirmed that Rightster will provide social, news, celebrity, sports and entertainment content.

The Stockholm-based music streaming service is the most popular service on the market, but that hasn’t been reflected in its financials. In its widely reported fiscal report last year, it was revealed that despite growing revenue, Spotify was not yet at a point of profitability.

If video proves the key to long-awaited financial success for Spotify, that foray could still be a bumpy — read “expensive”— road. The SVOD Netflix will reportedly spend $450 million on video this year, almost double the $243 million it spent in 2014.

Spotify’s current model is a two-tiered system of free, ad-supported content with limited control, and premium content allowing users more control. According to its own statistics, one quarter of Spotify’s 60-million subscribers opt for the pay model.

On the new Spotify, playlists will be curated and created both by Spotify employees, guest contributors and the users themselves. The video, news and podcast content will be available in audio-only format on top of audio/video format.

But the platform isn’t popular with some artists, such as Taylor Swift, who last year pulled her library off of Spotify, citing issues with Spotify’s decision to allow free users access to her music. Swift has said Spotify does not appropriately value its artists.

Rapper Jay-Z, founder of the premium music streaming service Tidal, has also had some negative words for the service. Most recently, Jay-Z’s criticisms took the form of a freestyle rap at a show in New York City.

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