Spotify woos creators, adds video in revamp

NEW YORK (AFP): Spotify on Wednesday introduced new tools for artists and songwriters, with a particular focus on video formats that are seen as increasingly essential as the world’s biggest audio streaming service struggles to break even.

The Swedish-owned company also unveiled a significant revamp to offer a more interactive interface, including the option to hear song previews and provide more personalized recommendations using artificial intelligence.

At a live-streamed marketing event, Spotify also announced that it surpassed 500 million monthly active users, including 205 million paying subscribers at the end 2022, with 10 million creators.

“When we founded Spotify, the music industry was in a freefall. So the fundamental question everyone was asking was, is the music industry doomed or could it be reimagined and still be a sustainable career for talented artists around the world?” said Spotify founder Daniel Ek.

“And now, more than 15 years later, we know that answer is yes. More and more artists are finding success through streaming,” said Ek who has handed over everyday responsibilities at Spotify to co-presidents Alex Norstrom and Gustav Soderstrom.

The platform, launched in 2006, has quickly become the world’s number one audio streaming service, but has struggled to prove the viability of its business model.

In an attempt to expand beyond music, Spotify in recent years has invested heavily in podcasts, audiobooks and live audio.

With the revamp, Spotify said it would be easier for artists to sell merchandise and tickets to concerts and other live events.

They will also be able to add 30-second videos to their profile and album page to compete with clips posted on social networks like TikTok or Instagram, which “don’t guarantee that the audience will then go listen to the whole song,” said Sulinna Ong, a Spotify executive.

“Streaming has already democratized access to music for listeners. With these new tools, we’re democratizing access to marketing for artists,” she said.

The company, which said in January that it was cutting almost six percent of its workforce to reduce costs, posted a net loss of 430 million euros for 2022. Spotify has regularly posted annual losses, despite strong subscriber growth and having had a head start on its rivals such as Apple Music and Amazon Music