Spotify Now Lets Users Listen to TV Shows and Podcasts

Is Spotify trying to take on Netflix?

February 8, 2016

In the past we’ve told you about Spotify’s “Spoken Word” section, a somewhat hidden playlist that includes famous speeches, audiobooks, and language learning courses. But now Spotify is stepping up their non-music content game.

In its most recent update, Spotify has included a “Shows” feature, a new section for podcasts and tv shows. To find it, open the app (make sure you have the most recent app update), click “Browse” and then click “Shows.”

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As of now Spotify has hundreds of “audio shows,” or as normal people call them, podcasts.

Titles ranges from Marc Maron’s WTF, ReplyAll, ESPN, Radiolab, Freakonomics Radio, The Tim Ferriss Show, and virtually any other podcast you can think of.

And while some people may be taken aback by Spotify’s slight shift away from music, the inclusion of podcasts shouldn’t be a big surprise. Eight months ago the company announced that it was planning on adding podcasts to the app.

“We’re a daily companion for music fans,” Spotify’s vice president of product, Shiva Rajaraman, told Tech Insider in a recent interview. “That shift has not changed. That said, music fans increasingly want more than just audio in various moments. We’re following that need. We’re not too sure yet exactly what that means.”

Additionally, Spotify also takes care of the curation for you by creating a handful of their famous playlists, like News, Learn Something, Comedy, and Gaming.

“What we believe that is special about us is that the playlist is primary in Spotify,” Rajaraman explained. “Our users appreciate a curated session, not necessarily a bunch of one-off wonders. So a lot of what we’re doing with video is to work with partners who can curate different sets of videos for different contexts.”

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However, unlike most podcasting apps, Spotify has also added a section for video shows. A few shows include The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, The Daily Show, Workaholics, Vice, and TED Talks.

Not all of the shows are actually the entire 30- or 60-minute show, but short clips. For example, The Tonight Show is broken into individual clips, as is ESPN and Workaholics.

The verdict is still out on whether Spotify can play ball in the podcast and video world, but with 75 million monthly users, Spotify is using this launch as a small test.

“Unlike for music where we’ve already had years of listening history for some people, in this case we have to start to push it out to them and see what sticks,” Rajaraman explained. “And things that don’t stick we’ll obviously not keep pushing.”



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