Spotify, the music listening service with 60 million active users, announced on Wednesday that it is expanding its offerings to include video and podcasts. The company is partnering with a long list of entertainment and news brands including ESPN and Comedy Central to provide exclusive content to its members.
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The new service, known as Now, will serve up personalized recommendations based on “taste, mood and time of day.” The company is also launching a service known as Spotify Running, which will create custom playlists based on one’s listening history and running tempo.
Spotify has what is called a “freemium” model, where basic services are free, but users can pay more for features like ad-free and offline listening. The company counts 15 million paying subscribers, who pay as much as $10 per month for the added features.
Founded in 2006, the Swedish company competes with Pandora (NYSE:P) and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) for music listening. Its new content services could also make Spotify a competitor of YouTube (NASDAQ:GOOGL) and Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX).
The venture-backed startup, with a reported $8.4 billion valuation is rumored to be in the IPO pipeline, but the private company is said to be unprofitable. Spotify is hoping that a successful video launch could offset some of the costs of its music business, which includes hefty fees for record labels that have cost the company over $2 billion thus far. Taylor Swift famously pulled the plug on Spotify because the teams could not come to an agreement on royalty payments.
Earlier this week, Spotify announced a partnership with Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX), where customers can influence the coffee shop’s music selection with their customized playlists.