Spotify is no longer just a music streaming service. At a mega event in New York, Spotify launched a host of new features, including streaming video and original content, in a bid to become an entertainment hub for its users.
Before the event, there was a fear that Spotify would cancel its free music plans. The End of Free Music:Should Spotify Make Everyone Pay? The End of Free Music:Should Spotify Make Everyone Pay? Apple is attempting another revolution with the rumored launch of Apple Music, a music streaming service. But along the way, Apple could be trying to kill existing free music streaming services. Boo! Whistle! Read More Apple is reportedly soon to debut its Beats Music streaming service, and Spotify's new features seem like the first chance in an upcoming war for your ears.
As a champion of the music industry, it's a bit of a surprise to see Spotify enter the video-on-demand business. Is there room for it alongside Netflix and YouTube? Spotify vs Netflix:Is there room for both with video on demand? Spotify vs Netflix:Is there room for both with video on demand? Spotify may expand into streaming video and compete directly with the likes of Netflix and YouTube. Is this a smart move, or is Spotify punching above its weight? Read more Only time will tell. For now, Spotify seems to want to retain the user in its app for as long as possible, which, according to The Guardian, seems to be the reason behind pushing more content like video.
Video content is broadly separated into two categories. Spotify Original Videos will focus on music, whether it's explaining the process behind album trends or doing something fun with the medium.
For example, comedian. Amy Pohler's Clever Girls The initiative will feature a new dance move video every day. A show called A complete English It will bring together musicians and celebrities in other spheres, talking about their arts over breakfast. And The drop complements the music you're listening to by letting artists share the stories behind their albums.
Meanwhile, Spotify also has deals with video giants like Disney, ESPN, Comedy Central, NBC Universal, VICE, TED and others. Select shows and talks will be available to view at any time. The list includes some impressive names, like The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon , X Games , How things work , and loads of news clips from different sources. Additionally, TED is creating custom playlists of his inspiring and uplifting talks. 5 inspirational and inspirational TED talks you should listen to. 5 Inspired and inspiring TED Talks you should listen to. Everyone needs inspiration when times are tough and spirits are low. With speeches ranging from privacy to psychology, and from politics to the triumphs of the human spirit, TED packs a healthy dose. Read more for Spotify.
On the music front, Spotify has more original content along the same lines as its videos. The company has introduced support for podcasts and has already closed deals with several prominent podcasters, including The Nerdist, one of the funniest podcasts on the planet. 5 comedy podcasts that will keep you laughing in public. 5 comedy podcasts that will keep you laughing in public. More unusual things than seeing someone listen to a comedy podcast in public. First you wonder what they are laughing at. Are they just crazy? Is there someone you don't see who just... Read More .
Spotify will also have original audio shows, like a radio show hosted by artists called Presentation . I'm particularly looking forward to Incoming , a show hosted by Billboard Magazine editor Joe Levy, where he talks about the best new music.
However, the company has not forgotten what made it so popular. Music is still at the heart of the new update, and you'll find it front and center as soon as you open the app.
The new home page, “Now”, learns your musical preferences and discovers the best songs for you based on the time of day. So from the Monday morning playlist to the post-lunch acoustic session, Spotify will leverage its data about you and the picks from in-house experts to create smart playlists to suit your taste and mood.
The big news in terms of music on this release was Spotify Running. It's a fantastic concept. Look, a lot of us geeks could use a boost to start running for fitness and fun. Music is the best companion when you're running and Spotify knows that.
So once you start running, the app will now detect your tempo and play songs that match your steps. Initially, this feature will only roll out to the iPhone, which makes sense. Dedicated motion-sensing chip makes iPhone ideal for fitness fanatics Why the latest iPhone announcement was more significant than you think [Opinion] Why the latest iPhone announcement was more important than you think [Opinion] Another disappointing iPhone was announced:the same size, the same basic features, and it doesn't even make your morning coffee yet. Sigh. Read More Win-win That said, motion detection is only available on the iPhone 5s, 5c, 6 and 6s, so it remains to be seen how accurate Spotify Running will be on older phones or Android devices.
Once again, the selections that Spotify will play will be based on expert recommendations and your previous choices, so the music should be something you enjoy listening to. And in a few months, Spotify will be partnering with Nike and RunKeeper, which is one of the best apps for setting exercise goals.
Spotify's new features are rolling out to iPhone users in the US, UK, Germany, and Sweden. People with iPhones in other countries will only have Spotify Running right now, with the other features coming in the coming months.
Download: Spotify for iPhone (Free)
As for Android or desktop/web gamers, you'll have to wait. “In the near future” is what Spotify is most willing to say at the moment, so patience will clearly be key.
These are major updates and features from one of the world's largest streaming music services, so naturally they've generated a mix of raised eyebrows and cheers.
Re/code's Peter Kafka says this move makes sense for Spotify as video content means video ads, which is its main source of revenue for free users. And Spotify has 45 million free users right now, compared to 15 million paid users. However, he warns that the music labels are not happy with this move, so we haven't seen the last word yet..
However, that is an industry issue and not that relevant to us end users at the moment. For us, it remains the fact that Spotify now has so much free video content. And yes, all of the above content will be free, as none of it requires a Spotify Premium membership.
There are concerns that Spotify is becoming a jack of all trades, without a tremendous improvement in the actual user experience.
What do you think of the new features of Spotify? Are you happy to receive much more content for free? Or would you prefer that Spotify concentrate on its core music streaming business? Please let us know your thoughts in the comments below.