Just in time for your holiday soiree, Spotify is unveiling its latest push into event- and activity-based music curation to capture users who may not have playlists of their own. It is taking the wraps off Spotify Party, music sets for social gatherings crafted by DJs — with the debut including exclusive content from Diplo. Spotify Party will initially be available only on iOS and Android apps (not web or desktop apps), and it is gradually rolling out across all of Spotify’s markets, starting today.
Although there are apparently already 1.5 billion playlists on Spotify, Spotify Party is only the second of Spotify’s own pushes into the space, after Spotify Running made its debut as part of Spotify’s big app update in May.
Just as the idea behind Running is to present you with music that matches your own jogging pace (and motivation to even go for a run in the first place), Spotify Party is based on the idea that there are different moods to different kinds of parties. There are sets for dinner parties, dancing and just winding down, Spotify says. I’m not sure if there is a set yet that says “Okay people, time to go home.” (There really should be.)
The playlists on Spotify Party are also not like ordinary playlists: they are created to blend songs seamlessly from one to the other, and for the user, the ability to change the tempo and mood is fairly straightforward by way of a “mood tuner” that will gradually change up the pace. There is also a degree of autonomy here: users can also add or mix around the order of songs to their own liking if they feel like playing DJ.
For Spotify, which now has 75 million users with 20 million of them paying, there is a bigger strategy here.
The company — which has now raised over $1 billion in private funding — is looking to develop beyond being just an on-demand music streaming company, as a way of attracting the next tier of consumers who may love to listen to music, but are less enthusiastic when it comes to figuring out for themselves what to play. These are people who may have, in another era, never bought a record, tape or CD, but listened to the radio constantly.
Spotify needs to find catchy ways of bringing in these users and making them loyal to Spotify before others beat it to the punch.
The concept of mood-based playlists was originally made popular by Songza, which eventually got acquired by Google. And Google, in turn, has been infusing its own music service with significantly more radio-style curation (shuttering Songza in the process). And there are other competitors very much on Spotify’s path: With Beats 1, Apple, too, has been diving into creating radio-style autoplaying content, run by alums from the radio industry. And Pandora, of course, was built on this premise from the start.
This, plus possibly becoming a go-to place for discovering totally new talent (a way of deftly bypassing all the Taylor Swifts who are pulling their music from the platform citing poor financial rewards), are both areas where Spotify wants to expand.
Just yesterday, the company announced that it had hired an exec from BBC Radio to lead content programming out of the UK. George Ergatoudis is known not only as a music programming wiz, but also for his ability to spot talent before they blow up into potentially more demanding megastars.
A video for Spotify Party below: