News November 29, 2021

Spotify is testing new TikTok-style vertical video feature

Spotify is testing new TikTok-style vertical video feature
Pictured: Spotify Canvas

Spotify has confirmed it is testing a short-form vertical video feed in its iOS Discover app.

It can be accessed as a fourth tab in the navigation bar between Home and Search, offering fullscreen videos complete with song title, artist name, and album art as the track plays.

The interface is very similar to TikTok.

Users swipe vertically to navigate between the clips and use a heart button to like a clip.

It was first spotted by product designer Chris Messina, inventor of the hashtag, who tweeted about how he discovered it in TestFlight, where tech brands test early app versions before early adopters and posted a video on how Discover worked.

He told TechCrunch which broke the story.

However, when quizzed by TechCrunch on details on release plans, Spotify trotted out its usual response – that it routinely conducts tests to improve user experience.

“Some of those tests end up paving the way for our broader user experience and others serve only as an important learning. We don’t have any further news to share at this time,” Spotify said.

Short-form videos have been adopted by social platforms Instagram (Reels), Snapchat (Spotlight), YouTube (Shorts) and Pinterest (Idea Pins), as well as Byte and Triller.

But this seems an inevitable step for Spotify since its Canvas feature, introduced broadly in 2019 to allow artists to upload 3-8 second looping videos, proved a success.

Spotify discovered that visual branding increased user engagement considerably. Track shares were up by an average of 145%, playlist adds by 20%, streams by 5% and profile visits by 9%.

Given the name of the feature, Spotify could well use the short video verticals as a discovery device, similar to the way Netflix does on its Fast Laughs feature which it introduced in March.

It offers a feed of funny clips from its catalogue of TV shows, movies and stand-up comedy which the user can play immediately, share, or put on the ‘watch later’ list.

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