Spotify will offer users comedy videos and news clips from the BBC as the music‑streaming platform launches a range of new entertainment content in a bid to fend off rival ventures from Apple and YouTube.
At a news conference in New York, the service, which has more than 60 million regular users across 58 countries, announced a major expansion into podcasts and non-music videos, such as news bulletins, travel and food programmes.
Spotify also unveiled a more personalised music service that includes a new running mode, which matches music to the pace of a subscriber’s physical activity based on feedback from their smartphone’s built-in sensors.
The music-streaming service, which boasts 15 million paid subscribers but has been criticised by some artists for the rates it pays for their music, is facing fresh competition.
Apple is to unveil a new subscription streaming service using content and technology acquired from its $3bn (£1.9) deal for Beats Electronics. YouTube is also testing a subscription video service while Jay-Z has signed big-name stars to Tidal, his high-fidelity music service.
In the biggest upgrade since its launch in 2008, Spotify promised users “an expanded world of entertainment built around you”. Video clips and audio shows will be added to the music mix because “we know there are times in the day you want to switch between music to catch up on the latest news, listen to your favourite podcast or simply watch something fun. Spotify will suggest video and audio shows for you to watch and learn what you love.”
Musicians against Spotify
Musicians against Spotify
1/10 Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift does not what her work to be used as an 'experiment' by Spotify and believes that artists are treated unfairly. She withdrew her entire catalogue in November 2014.
2/10 Thom Yorke
The Radiohead frontman famously described Spotify as 'the last desperate fart of a dying corpse' in October 2013.
3/10 David Byrne
David Byrne of Talking Heads wrote about not understanding Spotify's claim of discovery in a Guardian op-ed. 'The inevitable result would seem to be that the internet will suck the creative content out of the whole world until nothing is left,' he said.
Beck dismissed the Spotify model as 'not working' because of how little it pays musicians. He added that the 'saddest thing' about streaming is the poor sound quality - 'It's like watching Citizen Kane on your phone'.
5/10 The Black Keys
Dan Auerbach has described Spotify's payment to artists as 'so minuscule it's laughable'. 'If you are a bigger band that's already known and you rely on record sales for a living then it's really no place to be,' he said.
6/10 Atoms for Peace
Thom Yorke's other band refused to let Spotify stream their songs. Nigel Godrich from the group described the service as 'an equation that just doesn't work'. 'Small labels and new artists can't even keep their lights on. It's just not right,' he said.
7/10 Yannis Philippakis
The Foals singer said he would rather that somebody stole his record on vinyl than bought it or streamed it on Spotify. He described using Spotify as like going to a top class restaurant and leaving only coppers without paying the bill.
8/10 Aimee Mann
The US singer-songwriter has not put her music on Spotify because she does not think artists make a fair amount of money from the streaming service.
9/10 Grizzly Bear
The band tweeted in 2012 that Spotify provides a great service for people but does as much to help bands as 'downloading from Limewire'.
10/10 Jason Isbell
Jason Isbell of Drive-By Truckers has used the single word 'evil' to describe Spotify.
Spotify’s content partners include the BBC, the science-tech talks organiser TED, Disney, Vice Media and the weekly comedy podcast The Nerdist. The comedy star Amy Poehler will provide clips from her Smart Girls video channel.
A show called Turntable brings “chefs and musicians together for an intimate performance and meal”. Users will be able to listen to around 50 speech-only podcasts from BBC stations.
The company also announced Spotify Now, a service that will create personalised music playlists for listeners, based on their age, location and previous listening choices, with songs matched to particular activities such as showering or commuting. It echoes a free app, Songza, acquired by Google, which already offers playlists tailored to listeners.
The new Spotify Running experience, which matches the tempo of a DJ-curated selection of tracks to a person’s acceleration, can be accessed through the Nike+ app.
Daniel Ek, Spotify’s founder and chief executive, said: “We’re a tech company, but we’re a music company at heart. We’re obsessed with integrating music into people’s lives. We’ve made it easier to soundtrack your day. We’re bringing you a deeper, richer, more immersive Spotify experience.”
The streaming entertainment rivals
Not just unlimited, ad-free music streams for £9.99 a month. Now offers video content, playlists designed for different parts of a user’s day, and improved recommendations.
Beats streaming service to be relaunched within weeks using content and technology acquired under $3bn (£1.9bn) deal. It’s rumoured that Beats could cost $7.99 a month in the US, undercutting Spotify.
YouTube Music Key offers full streaming access for £9.99 a month. A subscription service is planned that will allow advertisements to be skipped.Reuse content