Swedish music giant Spotify has fired new shots in the streaming wars, just three weeks before the expected announcement of the new Apple/Beats offering, with the reveal of a host of new additions to its already popular service.
You will now be able to stream video and non-musical audio clips, bringing the likes of podcasts and news bulletins into its realm. Included amongst these are around 50 BBC podcasts that will be available outside of the UK for the first time, alongside content from ESPN, Disney, TED, MTV and NBC.
The service is also adding a recommendation service to match the tracks it suggests with the time of day and relevant user activities and moods, being formed "from our in-house experts and your personal collection". Another new feature is the intriguing announcement of a new service and file format aimed at runners.
The 'running mode' will match music according to your pace, determined using sensors in your smartphone, presumably in a fairly standard manner of searching for a song with the correct beats per minute (BPM). However, in addition, they have announced the launch of a new audio format that will actually alter the speed of the music itself (without altering pitch) in order to match it to your pace. This kind of technology has existed in high-level music production software such as Pro Tools and Logic before, but never on on any standard playback device, and certainly not via a streaming service - it could be a real gamechanger.
It all adds up to a strategy where Spotify aims to be constantly with you throughout the day, adapting to your needs, as they change, with the aim of becoming an 'entertainment destination'.
Founder and CEO Daniel Ek said at the launch: “We're bringing you a deeper, richer, more immersive Spotify experience. We want Spotify to help soundtrack your life by offering an even wider world of entertainment with an awesome mix of the best music, podcasts and video delivered to you throughout your day. And we’re just getting started.”
The new services will initially launch in the UK, US, Sweden and Germany before rolling out elsewhere.