Spotify is introducing video content for mobile
Spotify is finally ready to introduce the video feature that the company first announced last May. The mobile-only video content will first be available on Android devices, but will expand to iOS devices in the U.S., U.K., Sweden, and Germany a week later.
Over the past several months, Spotify has been gradually introducing and testing the newest feature with less than 10% of users in the four test markets. The video content is mostly “bite-size” snippets, though some companies like Tastemade are developing original, music-themed series specifically for Spotify.
Some disgruntled media partners have expressed dissatisfaction about the rollout’s apparent delay, but Spotify’s vice president of product Shiva Rajaraman has stated the timing was intentional. “We are at the end of a journey of testing,” he said. “We are going out effectively as planned. Our goal was largely to get a wide breadth of content and experiment and test.”
During the test period, Spotify learned that “contextually relevant” videos, based on music that users listen to or music-based Web videos, compel users to watch video clips. ‘Epic Rap Battles’ was one such series that fared well in early tests. However, another finding during the beta period was that users had far too many ways to discover video. To combat this, Spotify has focused on compartmentalizing video content, packaging clips into bundles like ‘News of the Week’ and ‘Laughs at Lunch.’
Since Spotify has been a listening-only medium until now, the new visual feature will require time and customer training before users regularly check out the video content. “Obviously our primary user is a music fan, and they are not necessarily leaning in and looking into the app,” Rajaraman said. “So there are no particular recipes for how to get this right.”
Spotify is paying partners to license the video content, but video won’t initially be a moneymaker for Spotify. The videos will come without advertising, though Chief Executive Daniel Ek noted last year that eventually, video ads would be “an important revenue source.” Initially, the videos will seek to expand Spotify’s user base, and get existing users to spend more time with the mobile app.