A quick one….
Spotify today announced its new ‘Spotify Play Button’ feature. As Giga Om Pro’s David Card Tweeted, it is ‘Spotify’s 1st baby step towards 2-way platform syndication’. In a nutshell the feature enables publishers to post embedded song stream links on their sites, thus adding music context to their stories. Publishers at launch include Vogue, GQ, The Guardian and NME. Crucially the Play Button is not an audio embed but instead a link that will play music from Spotify’s servers, via a user’s Spotify app via the site. Which means that if you don’t have Spotify you don’t get to listen to the music.
10 Million Users Translates to a Small Share of a Publisher’s Readership
As much as a success story as Spotify is, its 10 million users (or 17.5 million depending on which source you choose) are significant in digital music terms but tiny in Internet user terms. Which matters a lot to mainstream publishers such as Vogue and GQ who appeal to broad demographics. Only a small share of their readers will actually have Spotify accounts, so the majority of their readers will, as I told the BBC, encounter user experience ‘speed bumps’. Readers will either not be able to listen to music or instead will have to register for Spotify…assuming of course that they are Facebook users, otherwise they will have to register for Facebook first, and then Spotify.
So non-music specialist publishers (i.e. those whose readers will not in the main have Spotify) will likely get as much reader push back as they will positive feedback. For Spotify though it is all win-win. This is a smart customer acquisition tool. Combined with the Facebook integration Spotify now arguably has the largest marketing funnel of any digital music service (YouTube, and by extension Vevo, excepted). And this is what it is all about, as the following quote from the Spotify press release attests:
Anyone new to Spotify will be set up with the Spotify desktop app, which powers the button in the background, as soon as they start playing the music.
Another Step in Spotify’s ‘Music API’ Strategy
As I’ve argued before, Spotify want to become the API for Music. This is part of that strategy. Soundcloud should probably be concerned – though they are more than smart enough to find out a way to make their universal accessibility a highly visible differentiation point. YouTube and Vevo though won’t be losing sleep. The majority of user generated music links will continue to be YouTube embeds, as will the majority of publisher music links. The web is becoming an ever more video-rich experience and music is no exception.
So, a small but smart move from Spotify that will do wonders for their user acquisition and ‘Music API’ strategies. The case for publishers though is less clear cut.