By Dave LeClair
Spotify, one of the more popular ways to consume music, is undergoing a huge update that adds plenty of new features and functionality. Existing parts of the service like the start page are getting an overhaul, and new features are being added including video, original shows, and news and clips from popular networks like BBC, ESPN, and more.
The biggest feature in this update is the inclusion of video and original content. Spotify isn’t exactly heading in the realm of Hulu and Netflix, as it’s promising to add video clips and other fun shows, but not traditional TV shows. For the original content, Spotify users will find live performances from popular musicians, conversations between artists and personalities, and more. The theme of the original content is, naturally, music.
The video element will include news, clips, and entertainment from recognizable names including ABC, BBC, Comedy Central, Condé Nast Entertainment, ESPN, Fusion, Maker Studios, NBC, TED and Vice Media.
The music streaming service is also getting an overhaul to its start page. The company is calling it the Now start page, and it plays music based on users’ moods and tastes. These include things like different music for a commute or during the workday, and Spotify promises that it will learn from users to only play music they actually like.
Apple’s long-anticipated Music overhaul (which should integrate Beats Music into the fold), likely coming next month at WWDC, is expected to have some similar mood-based curation. Perhaps today’s Spotify update is an attempt to get out in front of that looming announcement.
One of the biggest new features in today’s update is Spotify Running. Spotify is promising that this is more than a fancy playlist-maker (though it does offer playlists and original running tracks based on user’s tastes), but rather a service that can detect a runner’s tempo and play corresponding music. Spotify is also planning to work with Nike and RunKeeper to bring its service to those apps.
Starting today, Spotify is rolling the new Now feature to iPhone users in the US, UK, Germany and Sweden, with other markets rolling out soon. The other features will begin rolling out to other users (including Android) “in the near future.”
Spotify’s launch video below (and the Spotify Running video below it) show the new services.