Spotify is no longer exclusively a music company, it’s taking a big step forward into the world of multimedia. Now the service will include both podcasts and videos, as well as some new technology geared towards runners who use Spotify while they’re out running. While many have questioned the wisdom of Spotify’s expansion, its clear from the company’s rapidly growing losses and the fact that Apple’s own music streaming service is launching soon that Spotify needs to do something if it wants to survive.
Streaming music service Spotify has announced new features including adding podcasts and video; music that adapts to the listener’s running pace; and the promise of smarter abilities to serve the right playlists for the time of day, activity and habits of the user. The company’s launch event in New York on Wednesday, helmed by its chief executive Daniel Ek, offered some deeper clues about how Spotify is evolving, and the key challenges it faces as it aims to grow beyond its current 60 million active users, of whom 15 million pay for the service. Recent months have seen a wave of stories about Apple’s supposed backroom machinations with music labels, encouraging them to clamp down on Spotify’s free, unlimited streaming service – which in turn would boost the prospects for Apple’s upcoming relaunch of its Beats Music. Apple’s advantages include a massive war chest to pay for exclusives on big albums; the fact that it can push its music service on hundreds of millions of iOS devices; and the way rivals have to pay it 30% of any money they make from in-app subscriptions on iOS – which means many of them charge $12.99 for a monthly subscription to cover that extra cost.