After months of testing, Spotify is finally bringing videos to a large audience, starting first with its Android app this week and rolling out to iOS next week.
The streaming music service first announced its video plans at a huge press event last May, and added the new feature for a small percentage of testers. Spotify gave me early access to the revamped app, which also included podcasts and a tempo-based Running experience, soon after announcing the new features, and it seemed like the app was on the right track with its mix of video offerings. But Spotify has been slow to bring video to everyone—only 10 percent of Spotify users in the States, U.K., Germany, and Sweden have had access to streaming video content over the last eight months.
The plan was to offer videos from partners like ABC, ESPN, BBC, and Comedy Central—hello, Broad City clips—as well as original short-form content. So what’s the holdup?
“We are at the end of a journey of testing,” Shiva Rajaraman, Spotify’s vice president of product, told the Wall Street Journal. “We are going out effectively as planned. Our goal was largely to get a wide breadth of content and experiment and test.”
The company learned that just serving up a ton of videos wasn’t very helpful—the service needs to curate those videos, just like it does music. So when video finally arrives on your Spotify app, it will be in bundles like “Laughs at Lunch,” the WSJ reported. Spotify already knows what kind of music you like, as evidenced by its eerily on-point personalized Discover Weekly playlist, and it will also use that information to recommend videos to watch.
Why this matters: Spotify is a music app first and foremost, and that’s not going to change with the launch of video. But offering more content gives people more reasons to stay within Spotify instead of jumping over to YouTube or Snapchat to watch funny clips or catch up on news. It also gives Spotify, which is the most popular streaming app with 75 million users, an advantage over competitors like Apple Music, which has music videos, behind-the-scenes exclusives from musicians via its Connect tab, and a full-length Taylor Swift concert documentary. Stay tuned for an in-depth look at Spotify’s video feature when it officially launches on iOS next week.