Spotify announced this morning that it's expanding its video program with 12 new shows, all of which will revolve around music and pop culture. Bloomberg has confirmed that each episode will last no longer than 15 minutes, and the series will be made available to iOS and Android users (with both free and paid subscriptions) in the US, UK, Germany, and Sweden later this year. Bloomberg also notes that this is just Spotify's first batch of original video: the company is planning a second phase that involves more comedy, animation, and collaboration with artists.
The announcement is coming almost a year after the company unveiled its first video offerings: clips from partners like ESPN, MTV, and Comedy Central that live within the app for users in the countries listed above. (The video channels were ultimately launched in January.) Some of the early highlights among Spotify's first original concepts include Rush Hour, a series from hip-hop legend Russell Simmons that brings artists together for lightning-fast remixes and mashups; Landmark, a documentary series about moments in musical history that's coupled to a podcast series of the same name; and Trading Playlists, in which celebrities trade playlists and learn more about each other in the process.
Streaming services are beefing up their video programs
Many of Spotify's competitors are also looking at beefing up their video offerings as the race for paid subscribers intensifies. Apple is reportedly working with Dr. Dre, will.i.am, and Vice Media on original programming for its Apple Music service, and Tidal has experimented with original video in addition to its suite of musical exclusives. And while video may not seem like a natural fit for an app built around music, Spotify may need it if more and more artists are going to opt for exclusive or windowed releases (i.e., albums and singles that come to the service late or not at all).
"We are developing original content that is rooted in music, pop culture, and animation that is driven by the passion and sense of humor of our audience," said Spotify global head of content partnerships Tom Calderone in a statement. "We are working with artists, producers, and partners who understand that the Spotify audience has a strong connection to artists and wants to go deeper into their worlds, see their performances and expressions, and hear their stories."