Online music streaming vendor Spotify is releasing its first video content this week for its new video streaming services on its Android playback app. The first content will feature short video clips in a few markets, including the United States, the UK, Germany and Sweden, according to a Jan. 25 story by The Wall Street Journal.
In May 2015, Spotify began looking to expand its business into online video as it worked to grow in size around the world, according to an earlier eWEEK story. This week's debut marks the start of that strategy.
After launching its Android app this week, Spotify is then expected to release its iOS app by the end of next week in these first four markets, the Journal reported. Spotify had announced last May that its video streaming services would include content from content providers such as ESPN, Comedy Central, the BBC, Vice Media and Maker Studios, the Journal reported.
The company has recently been testing its nascent video apps and services with less than 10 percent of its users in the four launch markets, Shiva Rajaraman, Spotify's vice president of product, told the Journal. The short clip content that is first to be featured will include clips from popular television shows like "Jimmy Kimmel Live," as well as original, music-themed series created by content makers for Spotify, the story reported.
"We are at the end of a journey of testing," Rajaraman told the Journal. "We are going out effectively as planned. Our goal was largely to get a wide breadth of content and experiment and test."
Last week, Spotify announced that it has acquired two more companies, Cord Project and Soundwave, to bolster its streaming services to its customers. Cord Project, which was founded in New York in 2014, offers Cord, a one-tap voice messaging platform built for phones, tablets and watches on iOS and Android, while Soundwave, founded in Dublin in 2012, offers its Soundwave music social networking app that helps users discover new music, share songs and connect with like-minded music fans.
Last May, Spotify was seeking a partner to help move into online streaming video and was in discussions with several digital-media companies about potential partnerships. Potential suitors included Time Inc., Tastemade, Maker Studios and Fullscreen, according to reports at the time.
The company's move into online video squarely pits Spotify against some major players in the online video marketplace, including Google's YouTube unit and Facebook.
Spotify offers free streaming music accounts with fewer features for users who are willing to listen to periodic ads. The service also offers premium subscriptions without ads for a monthly fee of $9.99. The premium subscriptions also present the streaming music in HD quality, which is an upgrade from the free services.
Spotify's presence in the music streaming market got some stiff competition in June 2015 when Apple launched its Apple Music streaming music service. Earlier in January, Apple Music passed the 10 million subscriber plateau, hitting that mark in just six months—which is 10 times faster than the six years it took competitor Spotify to hit the same milestone, according to an eWEEK story.
Apple launched Apple Music on June 30, 2015, in 100 countries, including the United States, to join the iTunes store as a means to give music lovers a new way to find a huge catalog of music in one destination. Individual memberships are priced at $9.99 per month, while a family membership for up to six family members is priced at $14.99 per month.
By diving into the streaming music business, Apple took on competitors including Spotify, Pandora, Google Play and others in offering subscribers the ability to listen to almost limitless music collections in real time from anywhere.
In February 2015, Spotify launched a desktop update to give users new features and improvements, including easier music browsing and sharing with friends.
In November 2014, the company announced that it had so far paid more than $2 billion to record labels, publishers and collecting societies for the use of the music on the service since it was begun in 2008.