Get ready to see more looping videos on Spotify, as Canvas launches into beta

Spotify is opening up its Canvas feature to more artists, the company announced this morning, which means you’ll see a lot more of those looping videos on the app starting soon. The feature has been in limited testing before today with select artists. When available, you don’t just see the album artwork behind the player controls — you see a moving, visual experience that plays in a short loop. So far, Canvas has had mixed reviews from Spotify users. Some find the looping imagery distracting, while others simply prefer seeing the album art. Some people seem to like the feature. But others only like it with certain content and artists. The challenge is in designing a video loop that works …

Spotify gains Siri support on iOS 13, arrives on Apple TV

In a long-awaited move, Spotify announced this morning its iOS 13 app would now offer Siri support and its streaming music service would also become available on Apple TV. That means you can now request your favorite music or podcasts using Siri voice commands, by preferencing the command with “Hey Siri, play…,” followed by the audio you want and concluding the command with “on Spotify.” The Siri support had been spotted earlier while in beta testing, but the company hadn’t confirmed when it would be publicly available. According to Spotify, the Siri support will also work over Apple AirPods, on CarPlay and via AirPlay on Apple HomePod. In addition, the Spotify iOS app update will include support for iPhone’s new …

How Kobalt is betting on musics middle class and DIY stars

Streaming services have made music ubiquitous, driving more exploration by consumers who don’t have to pay for each song or album individually. Musicians are correspondingly able to find their own niche of fans scattered around the world. How a Swedish saxophonist built Kobalt, the world’s next music unicorn Niche middle class vs. Global superstars

How Kobalt is simplifying the killer complexities of the music industry

Backed by over $200 million in VC funding, Kobalt is changing the way the music industry does business and putting more money into musicians’ pockets in the process. In Part I of this series, I walked through the company’s founding story and its overall structure. There are two core theses that Kobalt bet on: 1) that the shift to digital music could transform the way royalties are tracked and paid, and 2) that music streaming will empower a growing middle class of DIY musicians who find success across countless niches.

Spotify expands its new Premium Duo plan to Latin America

Spotify’s newest paid subscription, the Premium Duo plan designed for two people, first launched this spring as a pilot test in Ireland, Colombia, Chile, Denmark and Poland. Today, Spotify says the plan is being more broadly rolled out to 14 more Latin American markets. The new markets include: Argentina, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay. The Duo plan is meant mainly for couples, though it could apply to roommates or any other two people who share the same home address. In terms of pricing, it’s a step up from a single Premium subscription but more affordable than a Family Plan, as it’s limited to just two accounts. However, the …

You can now share music from Spotify to Facebook Stories

Spotify this morning announced a new way for you to share music with friends (or fans, if you’re an artist) — by way of a new Facebook Stories integration that includes 15-second song previews. Viewers can also optionally tap on the “Play on Spotify” button in the Story to be redirected to the Spotify app to hear more. The feature is designed largely with artists and their teams in mind, as it gives them another way to promote their new music across Facebook’s social network. Musicians and their managers often today use the Spotify app’s sharing feature to post their content across social media, including to Instagram, Twitter, WhatsApp, and elsewhere. Last year, Spotify introduced a way to share music …

Mobile gaming is a $68.5 billion global business, and investors are buying in

Omer Kaplan The first substantial investments in mobile gaming came from those who already had a stake in the industry. Tencent invested $90 million in Pocket Gems and$126 million in Glu Mobile (for a 14.6% stake), gaming powerhouse Supercell invested $5 million in mobile game studio Redemption Games, Boom Fantasy raised $2M million from ESPN and the MLB and Gamelynx raised $1.2 million from several investors — one of which was Riot Games. Most recently, Ubisoft acquired a 70% stake in Green Panda Games to bolster its foot in the hyper-casual gaming market. Additionally, bigger gaming studios began to acquire smaller ones. Zynga bought Gram Games, Ubisoft acquired Ketchapp, Niantic purchased Seismic Games and Tencent bought Supercell (as well as a 40% stake in Epic Games). And …

What lower Netflix pricing tells us about competing in India

At a conference in New Delhi early last year, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings was confronted with a question that his company has been asked many times over the years. Would he consider lowering the subscription cost in India? It’s a tactic that most Silicon Valley companies have adapted to in the country over the years. Uber rides aren’t as costly in India as they are elsewhere. Spotify and Apple Music cost less than $2 per month to users in the country. YouTube Premium as well as subscriptions to U.S. news outlets such as WSJ and New York Times are also priced significantly lower compared to the prices they charge in their home turf. Hastings had also come prepared: He acknowledged …

Spotify partners with Disney on a new streaming hub aimed at families

In an effort likely aimed at boosting family memberships, Spotify this morning announced a new partnership with Disney on the creation of a Disney Hub on its streaming service. Here, Disney fans in select markets including the U.S. will find a selection of Disney playlists, like soundtracks from Disney, Pixar and Marvel movies, Star Wars instrumentals, classics, sing-alongs and more. The Disney Hub is also live in the U.K., Ireland, South Africa, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. It can be discovered by doing a search for “Disney” in the Spotify app. Disney songs in particular appeal to families with children, and Spotify memberships that offer multiple profiles for both parents and kids alike are of more value to the streaming …

Spotify is building shared-queue Social Listening

Want to rock out together even when you’re apart? Spotify has prototyped an unreleased feature called “Social Listening” that lets multiple people add songs to a queue they can all listen to. You just all scan one friend’s QR-style Spotify Social Listening code, and then anyone can add songs to the real-time playlist. Spotify could potentially expand the feature to synchronize playback so you’d actually hear the same notes at the same time, but for now it’s a just a shared queue. Social Listening could give Spotify a new viral growth channel, as users could urge friends to download the app to sync up. The intimate experience of co-listening might lead to longer sessions with Spotify, boosting ad plays or …

Spotify is testing its own version of Stories called Storyline

Spotify is testing its own version of Stories — the sharing format popularized by social apps like Snapchat and Instagram that has since made its way to other apps like Facebook, YouTube, WhatsApp and others. In Spotify’s case, it’s not called “Stories” but rather “Storyline,” and the focus is on allowing artists to share their own insights, inspiration, details about their creative process or other meanings behind the music. This is very much similar to what Spotify’s “Behind the Lyrics” feature today offers. But instead of pop-up cards that load in time with the music, Spotify Storyline is very much a Stories-like experience, where users tap through the different screens at their own pace, and where horizontal lines at the …

Spotify spotted testing Your Daily Drive, a personalized playlist that includes podcasts

Spotify was recently spotted testing a new personalized playlist — the first one to mix music and podcasts, customized to users’ musical tastes. According to a report by The Verge, which saw first-hand the new playlist titled “Your Daily Drive,” the playlist features short episodes from podcasts followed by a curated selection of music that fits your interests. In the case of the test The Verge saw, however, the podcasts episodes were in Portuguese — an indication that this was not meant for public consumption at this time. Yo Your Daily Drive on @Spotify is LIT — Ben Singer (@benjisinger) April 25, 2019 Have to say I'm impressed with Spotify's new "Your Daily Drive" feature. Plays recommended songs AND short …