Spotify will offer users comedy videos and news clips from the BBC as the music streaming platform launches a range of new entertainment content in a bid to fend off rival ventures from Apple and YouTube. At a news conference in New York, the service, which has more than 60 million regular users across 58 countries, announced a major expansion into podcasts and non-music videos, such as news bulletins, travel and food programmes. Spotify also unveiled a more personalised music service that includes a new running mode, which matches music to the pace of a subscriber’s physical activity based on feedback from their smartphone’s built-in sensors. The music-streaming service, which boasts 15 million paid subscribers but has been criticised by some artists for the rates it pays for their music, is facing fresh competition.
According to the Recording Industry Association of America, the revenue of the entire industry as of 2014 was $6.97 billion, which accounts for physical sales, digital purchases, and yes, streaming. Streaming income, which includes paid subscriptions and ad earnings, accounted for 27% of the recorded music industry’s $6.97 billion earnings. Spotify, just one company that makes up that percentage, is worth more than every single US retail music revenue source combined. Given, Spotify is an international company, but either way, the math is fascinating.
Spotify’s content partners include the BBC, the science-tech talks organiser TED, Disney, Vice Media and the weekly comedy #podcast The Nerdist. The comedy star Amy Poehler will provide clips from her Smart Girls video channel. In the good news column, the 25% increase in streaming revenue more than offset the 8.7% drop in permanent digital download sales. So while the industry as a whole has remained pretty stagnant for the last five years (there was a 0.5% drop from 2013 to 2014), at least it’s not getting much worse.