Streaming services have become essential to the music industry. Services like Apple Music, Pandora, Google Play Music, and iHeartRadio all compete for listeners, as well as record labels, to provide the latest music from the biggest artists.
With that being the case, the competitive landscape among such services is heating up. Market leader Spotify is in the midst of a transformational period as it prepares to become a public company.
Here are four ways Spotify is about to change its game to stay on top of the music-streaming wars.
- It’s Celebrating Songwriters
Streaming services attract listeners by highlighting the artists. Spotify continues to focus on artists, but it’s also looking to give songwriters and producers a chance at the limelight as well.
The streaming service is set to launch Secret Genius, an effort to focus on the careers of successful producers and songwriters. The initiative will include curated playlists, podcasts, camps focused on songwriting, and an awards program.
Some 13 songwriters will participate in the program this year, including Ricky Reed, Starrah, and Justin Tranter.
- It’s Incorporating AI
Artificial intelligence invades almost every industry, and that now apparently includes music streaming.
Spotify recently teamed up with Niland, an AI startup that will help recommend songs and artists to listeners. Other services such as Apple Music have also jumped on the AI bandwagon in recent years in order to apply machine learning to the way subscribers discover music.
With its new partnership with Niland, Spotify says it will be able to deliver relevant music and artists to the right users at the appropriate time.
- It’s Expanding in Asia
Spotify recently announced its intentions to expand its global reach, with plans to launch the service in both Thailand and Vietnam. The two countries have a combined population of 160 million people.
Further, there are indications Spotify will also expand to India later this year, which would obviously be a huge move. There are more than 1.3 billion people in India, and the move would likely increase the company’s subscriber base substantially.
The speculation is that Spotify is expanding its reach as it plans to become a public company. Most believe that will happen in the fourth quarter of this year, but don’t expect the traditional initial public offering road most companies take.
Rather, Spotify reportedly plans to go public through a direct listing, which eliminates the public offering portion of the process. This is a move that’s fairly common for companies that already have plenty of capital and thus don’t have the need to raise more.
- It’s Making New Licensing Deals
The old phrase “content is king” indeed applies to streaming music services, which means it’s important for them to make deals with the content companies: record labels. Spotify regularly works with music labels on targeted direct-marketing campaigns promoting upcoming tours and albums to members of its customer database based on their listening habits.
In April, Spotify struck a new deal with Universal Music Group, under which Spotify’s premium subscribers will have instant access to new music from Universal artists. The company claims a number of big-name artists, including Mariah Carey, Adele, Lady Gaga, and Taylor Swift.
Under the deal, users who opt for the free ad-supported version of Spotify will be forced to wait two weeks for access to new music from Universal.
Further, recent reports say Spotify is close to a new deal with Warner Music, which claims artists such as Coldplay, Ed Sheeran, and Madonna. It also recently came to an agreement with the independent label Merlin.
With more than 50 million paying subscribers, Spotify remains the biggest player on the music-streaming block. If the company’s recent moves and its looming desire to go public are any indications, it doesn’t plan to relinquish the crown anytime soon.
Featured image via Spotify