Spotify is growing beyond a pure music streaming platform.
At an event in New York today, Spotify founder Daniel Ek announced a haul of new features for the service – including video playback and support for podcasts. (And just in time for Apple's Beats Music rebranding at WWDC, too.) While the cynical might think that podcast support is a bit redundant, given that there are already dozens of ways to find and listen to them, but having them integrated into a music app you use every day might make the process less tricky.
Video, on the other hand, is a truly attention-grabbing addition to Spotify’s stable of capabilities. The service has done deals with a host of big-name content creators including the BBC, NBC, ESPN, Comedy Central, Vice News and Adult Swim, which suggests that there might be plenty of stuff worth watching through the app. It’s “short form” video we’re hearing about here, so you won’t be watching 90-minute movies or even 20-minute TV shows in Spotify – it’s going to be more like news clips, music videos and excerpts from comedy shows.
Again, there are plenty of places to watch video clips online (including a little site called “YouTube”), so while it might be a headline grabber, it’s not likely to be a game changer.
Of course, Spotify hasn’t forgotten that it’s primarily a music service, and while there was no mention of improving streaming bitrates or “high definition” options, the audio side of things is about to see some changes too. The new start page will feature tailored playlists and recommendations based on your own personal tastes and habits, with added input from in-house experts.
And then there’s Spotify Running, which sounds a lot like the Spotify-powered Adidas Go service announced a few weeks back. Basically, this will detect your running tempo and deliver tunes that keep you at the correct pace. Drawing from your listening history as well as adding “original running compositions” from DJs and composers, it’ll create playlists with the aim of getting you fitter. Spotify Running will also integrate with RunKeeper and Nike+ in the future.
Spotify’s Now service (which is what it’s calling the new edition) will roll out to iPhone users in the US, UK, Germany and Sweden from today, and will appear elsewhere in the coming weeks. So give it a go – we’re certainly keen to see if this expansion of Spotify’s offerings is the sort of thing that can fend off attempts to poach users by the likes of Tidal.