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Spotify challenges YouTube, launching music videos for Premium users in 11 markets

Spotify challenges YouTube, launching music videos for Premium users in 11 markets
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Spotify is launching full-length music videos in beta for Spotify Premium users across 11 markets (the US is not included).

The move challenges YouTube, the dominant player globally in the music video streaming space.

The beta version of Spotify’s music videos rolls out today (March 13) with a “limited catalog” of music videos, including hits from artists like Ed Sheeran, Doja Cat, Ice Spice, Aluna and Asake.

The 11 markets include the UK, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, Brazil, Colombia, Philippines, Indonesia, and Kenya.

The US is a notable omission from the list, but Spotify said on Wednesday that it “hope[s] to expand the catalog of music videos and bring the feature to more users and countries”.

Elsewhere in the official announcement, Spotify highlighted the value of music videos for “superfan[s]” who want to “rewatch the videos [they] love and share them with friends, or a casual fan on the lookout for new releases, music videos create a new point of connection with artists”.

Premium listeners in the 11 named markets can watch music videos on iOS, Android, desktop, or TV by selecting the ‘Switch to Video’ toggle for supported music tracks.

Music videos will then start playing from the beginning within the Now Playing view. You can then press ‘Switch to Audio’ to go back to the music by itself.

Said Spotify: “In this beta launch, we’ll continue to innovate and iterate based on feedback from both users and artists.”

In a statement issued on Wednesday (March 13), Charlie Hellman, Vice President and Head of Music Product at Spotify, said that music videos are “an important part of so many artists’ tool kits,” and added that it’s “a natural fit for them to live in the same place that more than half a billion people choose to listen to music”.

Spotify’s total Monthly Active Users, which combine paying users and ad-supported users, grew 23% YoY to 602 million at the end of December. The platform’s global Premium Subscriber base grew to 236 million paying users.

Last month, Spotify rival YouTube surpassed 100 million paid YouTube Music and Premium subscribers worldwide.

(YouTube Music is available as a standalone subscription platform, or bundled into a YouTube Premium subscription.)

That subscriber figure marked a 20 million increase on the last subscriber figure to be publicly announced for YouTube Music, which was 80 million, in November 2022.

YouTube also operates TikTok rival shorts. According to YouTube, as of September 2023, Shorts were averaging 70 billion daily views, up from 50 billion daily views in December 2022, and are being watched by over 2 billion logged-in users every month.

In September, commenting on the role that music plays in the growth and popularity of YouTube’s Shorts platform, Lyor Cohen, Global Head of Music at Google and YouTube, told MBW that “Shorts and music are symbiotic”.

He added: “Music supercharges the entertainment value of Short-form videos and short form videos supercharge the growth of artists and songs.”

Spotify’s expansion into full-length music video content follows the introduction of its ‘Canvas’ feature back in 2019, which offers looping GIFs under 10 seconds, accompanying the music playback.

The streaming service noted on Wednesday that Canvas visuals in particular have been “shown to drive engagement, with users sharing, saving, or adding songs to playlists at a higher rate”.

In 2019, Spotify reported that “adding a high-quality Canvas to a track has increased streams by up to 120% and saves by up to 114%, in addition to lifts in artist profile visits and shares”.

Spotify also unveiled ‘Clips‘  last year, which are brief videos under 30 seconds long that allow artists to engage with their audience and promote their music. The videos resemble the format available on TikTok and YouTube’s Shorts.

“Unlike other short video platforms, Clips appear in the same app where listeners can immediately stream your new releases and entire catalog,” Spotify said at the time.

Spotify also offers full-length podcast videos on its platform and reports that there more than 100,000 video podcasts available on the platform.

“They’re an important part of so many artists’ tool kits, and it’s a natural fit for them to live in the same place that more than half a billion people choose to listen to music.”

Charlie Hellman

Charlie Hellman, Vice President and Head of Music Product at Spotify, said:  “So many times in my own experience and for countless others, music videos play a key role in hooking you: taking you from being a listener to leaning in and becoming a fan.

“They’re an important part of so many artists’ tool kits, and it’s a natural fit for them to live in the same place that more than half a billion people choose to listen to music.”Music Business Worldwide



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