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article imageSpotify reportedly launching streaming video service this week

By James Walker     Jan 25, 2016 in Technology
Spotify will launch its upcoming streaming video service later this week according to reports. Android users may be able to start watching video within the next few days and iOS users will only be waiting a little longer.
Spotify currently has 75 million users, 20 million of whom pay for content. Users, subscribers or otherwise, will soon be able to play videos in the Spotify app as an extended testing period with less than 10 percent of its users comes to an end and the service rolls out in full.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Spotify will finally launch its video-streaming division in the U.S. on Android this week. It was announced nearly nine months ago, in May 2015. By next week, it will be available to iOS and Android users in the U.S., U.K., Germany and Sweden.
The video content will be restricted to mobile devices. No update for the Windows and Mac OS X desktop clients is thought to be planned, in keeping with the content's style of short, accessible clips, many with a link to music.
Spotify will be placing itself directly into the fire of existing online video platforms including YouTube, Vimeo and Facebook. It is partnering with content producers including ABC, Condé Nast Entertainment, Turner's Adult Swim, TBS and Fusion to create curated lists of content to attract users in the first few months of service. Other providers include the BBC, Vice Media, ESPN and Comedy Central.
The company's major challenge will be convincing its users to actually watch video in an app that has previously had just one purpose: listening to music. Shiva Rajaraman, Spotify's vice president of product, said people do want to be able to jump straight to a music video without changing app though, telling the Wall Street Journal "this is fundamentally about giving music fans what they want … this is primarily a demand play."
Initially, no advertising will be displayed alongside the videos, despite CEO Daniel Ek previously describing videos as an "important revenue source." Spotify is happy to sacrifice some income to make a good first impression though. It has opted to start monetising later once it has assessed the demand and usage of its video component.
The company's "journey of testing," designed to provide a "wide breadth of content" to selected users, has already presented some interesting trends. Spotify has discovered it is best to show links to contextually appropriate videos to users, based on what music they listen to.
Somebody who listens to a lot of classical music may be presented with a clip of an orchestra. A person who usually plays pop could be shown a video of a festival performance. The company found that presenting rap fans with Maker Studio's comedic rap series "Epic Rap Battles" led to lots of views because of the context it was displayed in.
It's still early days for Spotify video though and the launch this week could go in one of several ways. The company wants to establish itself as a credible alternative to YouTube, especially for music videos, but first it needs to shift the mind-set of its users so they regard it as a media streaming platform rather than a music streaming platform.
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