Spotify expands into video, podcasts, tracks just for running and more

It’s only been four years since Spotify arrived in the United States, and after 25 billion hours of music streaming, it’s ready to vastly expand its content offerings. Today, the streaming music service announced the rollout of a “new platform” which includes personalized playlists, podcasts, exclusive video content, and contextual music recommendations.

Central to the reimagined Spotify are improved playlists. They’re more contextual now, sensitive to time of day and surroundings. The goal is to offer you music that fits the activity in which you’re partaking at any given moment — calming classical while driving, for instance, or sing-along tunes in the shower.

But they’ll serve up more than music. Spotify announced a bevy of content partners, including ABC, Adult Swim, NBC, BBC, ESPN, TED, MTV, Maker, Slate, Fusion, and E!, that’ll contribute video content to playlists. A so-called “video capsule” from content partners Comedy Central Vice, and The Nerdist will deliver exclusive content — The Nerdist’s material will debut on Spotify three hours before anywhere else, for one.

Separately, the company’s diversifying its audio library with podcasts from a range of (yet unspecified) partners. And Spotify’s attempting to appeal to the fitness crowd with Spotify Running, a new music matching feature that recommends singles based on your listening history and, even wilder, the tempo of your steps as measured by your phone’s accelerometer. Spotify CEO Daniel Ek also promised exclusive content — Running Originals — made for Spotify.

Spotify’s also doubling down on its effort to be in more places. It announced a partnership that’ll see Spotify Running integrated into the Nike+ app, and RunKeeper support is due “later this year.” That’s in addition to the company’s agreement with Uber and recently announced deal with Starbucks.

The moves are likely in anticipation of Apple’s upcoming revamped music streaming service. Spotify’s not limiting the fight to new features and partnerships — it recently began offering three months of paid service for a dollar. That strategy’s done well for the company, which says it now accounts for 54 percent of the global dollars of a streaming industry that made $1.87 billion last year.

It’s an industry that’s fiercely competitive. At a tech industry conference last week, Spotify Co-founder and Chairman Martin Lorentzon addressed his Tidal competitors by remarking “I’ve got 99 problems, and Jay Z is not the one I’m thinking about.” That may or may not have inspired Jay Z to include Spotify’s near-$9 billion valuation in his scathing freestyle diatribe about the streaming music industry over the weekend.

The new Spotify is available today in the U.S., U.K. Germany and Sweden, and will roll out to move territories later.


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