Spotify invites other Web and media companies to come play


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Hoping to attract more users and keep them enthralled with its digital music service, Spotify has partnered with other Web and media companies such as Rolling Stone magazine, Songkick and TuneWiki to juice up its service with articles, reviews, recommendations, lyrics and other content.

Rolling Stone, for example, will integrate its year-end magazine issue with Spotify’s service so readers can instantly play most, if not all, of the songs featured in the articles. The integration will involve the magazine’s future issues as well.


“People used to take that issue with them to Amoeba Records to buy the albums,” said Bill Crandall, head of digital content for Rolling Stone during Spotify’s packed news conference in New York on Wednesday to announce its new partnerships. “Now we can instantly get that music to people through Spotify with a click.”

Spotify, which lets users stream music online and on mobile devices, is seeking more than just editorial content to accompany the 15 million songs it has available to listeners. In the coming weeks, it will begin rolling out a variety of music-related applications. One will allow users to purchase concert tickets for the band they’re listening to via Songkick, which lists upcoming concerts by location.

“The average American goes to fewer than two concerts a year,” said Songkick Chief Executive Ian Hogarth. “This will help us get people out to see more live music by letting us tap into the 10 million people who are actively listening to music on Spotify.”

An application from TuneWiki, a site that offers lyrics, will allow listeners to sync them up as songs are streamed on Spotify. Moodagent, a service that makes music recommendations, would generate playlists.

“Spotify wants to keep you engaged in their service for as long as humanly possible,” said P.J. McNealy, an analyst with Digital World Research.

Spotify, a Swedish company that has gained more than 2 million users in the U.S. since launching here in July, is looking to boost that figure by making the service easier to dive into, as well as keep hard-core music fans engaged by giving them more ways to unearth new and obscure songs, said Ted Cohen, president of digital media consulting firm TAG Strategic.


Getting additional visitors is critical to Spotify’s business, which relies on hooking people with its free service and persuading some to spring for its premium options. Those include a $4.99-a-month plan for an advertising-free service and a $9.99 monthly package that streams music to mobile devices.

Ken Parks, the head of Spotify’s U.S. operations, said enlisting outside developers lets the company introduce new features to its service without having to create them in-house.

“Some of our users want an editorial voice,” Parks said. “We don’t do that. But Rolling Stone does. Our users want an easier way to build playlists. Moodagent does that better than we can ourselves. At the same time, we bring value to our partners by providing them with the music to go with their services.”


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-- Alex Pham