Spotify Expanding to Become “Entertainment Provider for Video”

Spotify have decided to begin expanding into the online video market, as well as music streaming, going up against platforms such as YouTube and Facebook Video.

Speaking at MIPCOM Matt Baxter, Spotify’s global head of original content, has spoken about Spotify’s move into visual media and it’s approach to innovation:

Spotify is a rambunctious teenager who’s getting ready for college right now. Kinda set in his ways but also hoping for new expierences. This is a big bet for the company across the entire company. They realise that original content is a way to create a better value proposition for our users.

Original content’s such a big bet corporate-wide, that a lot of people are interested, a lot of people are open, and a lot of people understand internally that there will be bumps along the way, just as there will be bumps when you take your teenager off to college.
Our mission at Spotify with the original content initiative is to look at the deep data we have on our audience base, and start to program that with deep diversity of content.

Baxter ended, saying: “We’re not just a utility, we’re part of the ritualised experience of their life.” We can assume this is a response to Jimmy Iovine from Apple who, earlier this year, described Apple Music rivals as ‘utilities’.

In an interview with The Guardian earlier this year Iovine said: “A lot of these companies were built as utilities (referring to rivals from Spotify to YouTube) and this [Apple Music] is not a utility.”

Iovine says that Apple Music’s human curation sets it above it’s competitors but Spotify’s Discover Weekly feature, using algorithms along with listening history to create a unique playlist of new music for users, has been a runaway success. Thousands have lauded the playlist’s content and variety since it’s introduction in July.

Matt Baxter went on to talk about what he had learned during his stint at BuzzFeed and what he can apply from that to Spotify’s video service:

The biggest thing that I learned is just that making sure you create content that’s applicable for the platform, and I think that’s what we’re doing now for Spotify. In the industry you have a lot of people coming from the traditional TV world and trying to create content with traditional three-act structure and designed for a lean-back experience.
On YouTube it’s typically more about information and cute cats, whereas on Facebook it’s about content that identifies with your specific experience. So it’s taking the lessons of the specific touchpoint and creating content based on that touchpoint.

Video and podcasting is fairly new within the service, so while we have an audience of 75 million+ people that uses the service for upwards of three hours, it’s still a new experience to consume video content and even podcasts within the service. We have to experiment with content that’s going to work within our content and ecosystem.

In the next 3-6 months we have to experiment with a bunch of different things. It’s got to have that core DNA of music, but we also want to experiment with other genres and formats. We’ve got some relationships in place where we are licensing some content from publishers but we are also working on original stuff. We’re actively working on different strategies for windowing, for IP ownership and for licensing.

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