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Spotify Prepares to Introduce Video

Tim Maytom

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Spotify first announced its intention to introduce video services in May 2015, with content partnerships with BBC, Condé Nast and Vice Media aimed at bringing short streaming video clips to its large audience. While little has been heard since, it appears the company is now ready to roll out this new feature.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the music-streaming service will be bringing video content to its Android app starting this week, shortly followed by the iOS app at the end of next week (desktop users will not be able to access video). Video will initially only be available in the US, UK, Germany and the company's native Sweden, but the service has plans to expand this further in the future.

Spotify has been testing video on its apps for several months, with less than 10 per cent of its users in the four launch marketers gaining access to short video clips. While the majority of its media partners will be streaming existing content, some companies like Tastemade are developing original material centred on music to appeal to the Spotify audience.

Some of the media partners have reportedly been dissatisfied with the time it has taken for video to reach consumers, but Spotify has made it clear that it is being particularly cautious in the move to a whole new area, with a whole new batch of rivals to compete with.

"We are at the end of a journey of testing," said Shiva Rajaraman, vice president of product at Spotify. "We are going out effectively as planned. Our goal was largely to get a wide breadth of content and experiment and test."

Spotify's considerable existing data on its users will enable it to present contextually relevant videos, based on the kind of music people are listening to, which has had positive results in its testing period. However, the company also found that its beta version was offering too many ways for people to find video, so the final launch will focus on compartmentalising video content in programming packages.

"Obviously our primary user is a music fan, and they are not necessarily leaning in and looking into the app," said Rajaraman. "So there are no particular recipes for how to get this right. This [launch] is fundamentally about giving music fans what they want. We are doing fine on monetisation. This is primarily a demand play."

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