News January 21, 2018

Spotify launches visually-enhanced format Spotlight, more video experience for audio listens

Spotify launches visually-enhanced format Spotlight, more video experience for audio listens

Spotify is rebranding itself as a service that just offers music streaming with a new visually-enhanced format called Spotlight.

It will add photos, video, text and infographics to its news, culture, politics, sports and entertainment in audio content including podcasts, audiobooks and playlists.

It trials first in the United States from early February but will roll out in Australia “in the near future”, although an exact launch date is not set.

Courtney William Holt, Head of Studios and Video at Spotify said, “We are excited to launch Spotlight, a new format that merges great storytelling, news, information and opinion with visual elements all delivered in playlist form across a number of content categories.

“Playlists play an important role in the daily lives of our users bringing them closer to the creators they love.”

Spotlight content comes from partners including BuzzFeed News, Cheddar, Crooked Media, Lenny Letter, Gimlet Media, Genius, The Minefield Girl, Refinery29 and Uninterrupted.

There will also be content from Spotify’s own original series such as RISE, Secret Genius, Spotify Singles and the new Viva Latino podcast.

Ben Smith, Editor-in-Chief of BuzzFeed News commented, “It feels like a generation ago that MTV News delivered the latest to a whole generation of music fans, but it’s not hard to imagine BuzzFeed News and Spotify doing the same in 2018.

“We’re incredibly excited to bring together our award-winning audio team, world-class journalism, and Spotify’s massive, dynamic platform to get listeners up to speed every morning.

“I can’t wait to see this project get off the ground and grow along with the future of news.”

According to Matt Lieber, co-founder and President of Gimlet Media: “We’re excited to see partners like Spotify investing in podcasting to enhance the audience’s experience of our storytelling.

“Everything at Gimlet begins with audio, and with Spotlight, through new visual expressions of shows, we hope to reach new listeners in fresh and original ways.”

The new move comes in the wake of Spotify’s failed try at an original video series.

Spotlight could possibly move the needle and increase subscriptions and be a revenue spinner for Spotify, which has been struggling to turn a profit because of the cost of music rights.

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