Spotify tests voice-enabled advertisements in limited U.S. trial

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Spotify tests voice-enabled advertisements in limited U.S. trialSpotify Testing Skippable Ads

Streaming giant Spotify announced its launch of voice-enabled interactive advertisements on May 2—a move which reflects the company’s interest in bumping up investments into voice technology. The advertisements will encourage listeners to say a verbal command and direct them to either a branded Spotify playlist or podcast. Listeners have a short duration of time to say the phrase “play now” in order to to take action; any other spoken phrase will prompt the mic to turn off and the ad to resume its normal run.

The first two ads Spotify is testing come from Spotify Studios and Unilever’s Axe. The former will take users to the Spotify original podcast Stay Free: The Story of the Clash and the latter directs them to a Unilever Axe branded playlist. The ads will only be available to a limited subset of Spotify free listeners in the U.S. and those who enabled Spotify’s voice controls. Spotify’s research into voice technology echoes CEO Daniel Ek‘s belief that voice across all platforms, “are critical areas of growth, particularly for music and audio content” as well as their desire to capitalize on smart assistants and voice-enabled home devices. Further, the company wants to maximize their ability to reach users in a time where people are minimizing screen time and consciously picking up their devices less. Spotify isn’t the only streaming player to show interest; Pandora also confirmed it would begin testing interactive ads in 2019 as well.

H/T: TechCrunch

Less than a year after signing licensing deals with the majors, Spotify is stirring the pot once again

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Less than a year after signing licensing deals with the majors, Spotify is stirring the pot once againSpotify Major Labels Min

Spotify is trying out new business models that test its relationship with major labels. Just a year after renegotiating licensing deals with major labels, Spotify is pushing back against what got them into the industry’s good graces in the first place. The Swedish streaming giant and the record companies that produce its content continue to publicize their tumultuous relationship.

Spotify has already expressed interest in acquiring music by licensing directly from independent artists. They rely heavily on Universal, Warner, and Sony to supply their 35-million-song catalog and recently have been paying advances to management firms and other artist-representation groups in order to obtain direct deals. The major labels see this as Spotify cutting into their territory, and with the current licensing deal, Spotify is not allowed to compete in a substantial or meaningful way with labels’ main businesses. CEO Daniel Ek said “We are not acting like a record label;” however, industry veterans told The New York Times they are growing weary.

Another strain on the relationship comes from music videos. Spotify has started offering video with audio on mobile devices, and they have to pay majors to publish their videos. This has caused disputes over how much the streaming behemoth owes for using those videos. Universal Music Publishing executive Marc Cimino told Bloomberg they want “to allow our digital partners to experiment and at the same time make sure our songwriters are paid properly.” On the other hand, Spotify is arguing their platform’s method of distribution is worth more than what’s credited.

As the methods of distribution shift, this contentious relationship between music licensincing and publishing appears natural. It’s highly unlikely labels or publishers will ever abandon Spotify entirely; however, labels are making it clear they’re restricting Spotify’s leverage in the industry.

H/T: Rolling Stone

Spotify partners with Samsung to compete with Apple

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Spotify partners with Samsung to compete with AppleSpotify Samsung Daniel Ek Photo Cred Spotify Newsroom

On Aug. 9, music streaming giant Spotify announced a monumental partnership with Samsung.

The deal makes Spotify the official music provider for all Samsung phones, televisions, tablets, watches, and speakers. The application will be pre-installed on many new Samsung devices, much like Apple does with Apple Music on its devices. Spotify will also be integrated into Samsung’s voice assistant program and will work with Samsung’s smart-home applications.

Daniel Ek, CEO of Spotify, said in a company Q&A that this new partnership “reduces the friction for users to get Spotify up and running on multiple Samsung devices once the accounts have been linked.” He also noted that the partnership “allows us to create a seamless music listening experience together for the user that would be hard for either of us to build alone. We believe that this significant long-term partnership will provide Samsung users across millions of devices with the best possible music streaming experience, and make discovering new music easier than ever — with even more opportunities to come.”

While Ek didn’t mention any competitors in the Q&A, the partnership would allow Spotify to bolster its figures against Apple Music, which recently surpassed Spotify subscriber numbers in North America.

H/T: Rolling Stone

Featured photo: Spotify Newsroom