As the streaming service playing field continues to expand and crumble, companies will keep trying almost anything to differentiate themselves from the competition. Maybe that's why Spotify, a streaming service, just partnered with Beatport, another streaming service. The two companies recently inked a content distribution deal that will bring some of Beatport's curated playlists and exclusive content to Spotify.
The move may sound like a strange one — Beatport is, ostensibly, a Spotify competitor — but each service has something the other wants. Spotify has reach; Beatport has insider status and a human touch. Beatport has been around since 2004; it began as an online download store aimed at dance music aficionados, and has since expanded to streaming and video. In 2013, Beatport was acquired by SFX, the live music company behind big EDM festivals like Electric Zoo. Earlier this year, Skrillex and Diplo's 24-hour DJ set was hosted by Beatport and Twitch.
The human touch
It's not clear exactly what the partnership will look like, but Spotify will have access to Beatport's exclusive DJ mixes and videos of live events. Beatport's team will also create "highly curated" playlists for Spotify. Spotify has had some level of human curation for the past few years, but its themed playlists mostly feel cold and robotic. Earlier this year, Spotify gave teen superband One Direction some curation power for a weekend, but this is Spotify's first attempt at long-running, personalized curation from an outside team.
The pairing is likely an attempt to keep up with Apple Music, another player in the streaming world that's already cemented itself as a big threat to Spotify. One of Apple Music's biggest draws is its curated content, which lets users listen to songs that have been hand-picked by industry insiders and artists. It makes sense for Spotify to try to get a little bit of that personal touch for itself, and Beatport has always positioned itself as a tastemaker rather than a powerhouse.
"It's a curated and playlist market," Greg Consiglio, Beatport's CEO, told Billboard. "Our service is heavily curated, by people in our company — in our Denver and Berlin and LA offices — who have label relationships and artist relationships. We have a unique perspective on what's trending."
Beatport focuses exclusively on electronic music, so it's possible this is just the first step on Spotify's path to a more curated world.
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