It has been a big week for Spotify. At a special event last Wednesday the online music company announced its shift from being ‘just’ a provider of music online to a ‘music platform’ that ties in with third party applications. In short, this means that Spotify will turn its service into a platform for developers, who can then build HTML5 apps based on this platform. The aim is that all these third party apps will be truly integrated with Spotify and that they will all contained within the Spotify Player which both free and paid customers will have access to.
These are the main things I learned about Spotify’s new approach:
- Making the most of its catalogue – I guess Spotify is widely known for offering an impressive catalogue of online music. Things like radio (which Last.fm did so successfully), expert recommendations and a better use of the ‘genre’ tag are currently non-existent or lacking at best. There definitely is room to do more with the Spotify catalogue.
- Need to engage users more – Spotify is great for people who know what they want to listen to, but there is a risk of users dropping off one they’ve exhausted the music that they are aware or interested in. There’s no community around the music on Spotify and limited ways for Spotify to engage with it users.
- Reinforcing the brand – Many others before Spotify discovered that creating an ‘ecosystem’ around content can be a very effective way to keep customers ‘locked in’ and to spread the word around a service. Apple and Amazon are great examples of this strategy but also players like Netflix and my employer, 7digital are good cases in point of business being successful in opening up their API and reaching out to the developer community.
- Music anywhere everywhere – At the launch event, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek explained: “we want music to be like water: available everywhere and shareable seamlessly”. This idea of ‘total ubiquity’ is becoming increasingly apparent in a lot of digital strategies; providing content in the car, at home or on the go.
- First examples of third party apps using Spotify – One of my favourite online tools, Songkick, will launch a new Concerts app for Spotify which will allow users to discover and buy tickets for nearby shows by the bands they’re listening to on Spotify. Similarly, the Rolling Stone Recommends app will function as a discovery tool for Spotify users to browse album and song reviews, as well as curated playlists, while simultaneously streaming the music.