Technology

Spotify adds podcasts and video clips

The new Spotify app Image copyright sPotify
Image caption A "now" start page will offer different types of music at different times of the day

Spotify has announced it is adding more non-music content to its app.

The new offerings include news bulletins from National Public Radio, the BBC and others as well as longer video and audio podcasts and clips.

Spotify has more than 60 million regular users across 58 countries. It says about 20% pay for its premium ad-free subscription services.

Chief executive Daniel Ek said that represents more than half of the global market in "streaming dollars".

The company said it had also taken steps to match the music tracks it suggests to the various activities users engage in throughout their day.

This includes a new running mode, which matches music to the pace of the subscriber based on feedback from their smartphone's built-in sensors.

Image copyright Spotify
Image caption The new Spotify can provide music that matches a runner's pace

The firm said it had also created a new type of audio format that allows a song's tempo to be altered to match a runner's footsteps while keeping it in tune.

And it has commissioned new track from composers and DJs including Tiesto, who made a brief appearance at the firm's New York press conference.

"If it works, the ability of Spotify to adapt what it plays you as the day progresses is interesting," commented Andy Malt, editor of the music business news service Complete Music Update.

"Being faced with a choice of tens of millions of tracks is daunting for a lot of users when they open the app, and while that catalogue is a big sell for the engaged music fans who were streaming's early adopters, it's less appealing to mainstream users.

"The less users have to interact the more music the app can serve up to them. Adding non-music content, including podcasts and video, also has the potential to keep users within the Spotify app for longer."

Image copyright Spotify
Image caption Daniel Ek said people listen to a new artist they have never heard before a total of two billion times a month on Spotify

One of the new pieces of audio content is BBC Minute - an "alternative" round-the-clock news service, aimed at a youth audience, already offered to other digital platforms.

Launched in April, it is a 60 second conversation of shareable news, updated every half hour.

In addition, for a year-long period, overseas Spotify users will be able to listen to around 50 speech-only podcasts from BBC stations.

"These programmes are already freely available in the UK, so we're running this trial only for overseas users," the corporation said in a statement.

"This means we can generate income for the BBC to reinvest in programmes for licence fee payers as well as reaching new audiences across the globe."

Disney, the sports network ESPN, the science-tech talks organiser TED, Conde Nast Entertainment and the US TV channels MTV and NBC are among those who have also committed to providing material.

Image copyright Spotify
Image caption Vice News is among the podcast creators signed up to provide Spotify with content

Spotify said it would suggest video and audio shows to users based on their past use.

The announcement comes less than three weeks before Apple's developers conference, when the iPhone-maker is expected to reveal plans for a streaming music service based on its takeover of Beats Music.

Spotify is also facing new competition from Tidal, a music service relaunched by the musician Jay Z and backed by other famous stars. Jay Z said last month that it had signed up 770,000 subscribers.

The new services are initially restricted to iPhone users in the US, UK, Germany and Sweden, but will later be extended to other platforms and countries.


Analysis: Rory Cellan-Jones, technology correspondent

Image copyright Getty Images

Streaming may well be the future of music and Spotify may be the future of streaming, as Daniel Ek claims, but the Swedish chief executive faces a twin threat.

Apple is about to launch its own music service and will be determined to win back customers lost to Spotify as downloads have stagnated.

And the music labels, which have absolute power over the streaming company, have been flexing their muscles, making it clear they could withdraw their artists.

So, by offering a new service which is about more than music Spotify hopes to take on Apple by winning over the kind of music fans who also like to snack on YouTube videos or catch up with podcasts.

Meanwhile, it will be able to show the music labels that it has other options.

But make no mistake, the stakes are high - if customers don't take to the new Spotify, plans for a stockmarket float will go on hold, perhaps forever.

Related Topics

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites