I tried Spotify's new music video feature and it brings back the MTV golden era

Two iPhone's with the Spotify app open against a colorful background
(Image credit: Spotify)

Music videos completely transformed the music industry when they first started to become popular – we're not talking about those from the 60s like Bob Dylan's Subterranean Homesick Blues but more so the iconic Video Killed the Radio Star by The Buggles that famously kicked off MTV's golden era – and now Spotify is planning to bring them back in a big way. 

Starting today, the streamer is rolling out Full HD music videos in beta for premium subscribers but only in 11 countries. These are the UK, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, Brazil, Colombia, the Philippines, India and Kenya. The new feature will initially be tested with only a small catalog of music videos from the likes of Ed Sheeran, Doja Cat and Ice Spice. There will also be some videos available from local artists like Aluna and Asake.  

This small number of music videos will be accessible through a beta version of the Spotify app on both iOS and Android devices. The new feature will also be available through the web application on desktop and TVs, which will likely be the main devices where it's best used. We don't yet know how long the testing period will last but we do know that further updates will be made off the back of feedback. 

How to find music videos on Spotify 

Spotify Album Preview Feature Header

Spotify's Canvas feature loops eight-second videos while you listen to tracks.  (Image credit: Future)

I've been testing out the new feature for the past day and have found most of the music videos to be available for popular artists like Alicia Keys, Beyoncé, Billie Eilish, Drake and The Weekend. Not every track from an artist's discography has a music video but you can find some of their biggest.

So, how does it work? Once you've found a track with an accompanying music video – we don't have a full list of those available yet – you'll see a new option to switch to video. To find the toggle, you'll have to click into the track to bring up the Now Playing video. Another way to search for tracks with music videos is by scrolling down an artist's page to a new section that lists all their music videos.     

If you want to turn the video off, all you have to do is hit the same toggle to switch back to audio only. You can also watch the music videos in full screen by rotating your mobile device and watching them in landscape mode.

Another nice touch about the new feature that YouTube – not (as far as we know) YouTube Music – should take note of is that the music videos continue playing after you've locked your phone or switched to another app. 


♬ Write This Down (Instrumental) - SoulChef

First MTV, then YouTube... now Spotify? 


(Image credit: Shutterstock)

No matter whether you're a stan that loves watching and sharing your favorite artist's music videos or a casual listener, this new feature is likely to have mass appeal. According to Statista, the most viewed type of videos on YouTube are music videos, and it's been that way since 2010 – you can probably see why some of the best music streaming services offer music videos (like Apple Music, Amazon Music and Tidal). In fact, Qobuz  and Deezer are two of the few services now not to offer such a feature.

So, how do music videos fit into Spotify's wider plans? The new feature is part of an effort from the streamer to forge a deeper connection between artists and fans and ties into similar video updates it made with the likes of Canvas (its eight-second video loop feature) and Clips (its 30-second vertical videos), which have resulted in higher engagement with premium subscribers sharing, saving and adding songs to playlists. Of course, video has been a big area of focus for the company for many years now – we first heard whispers that Spotify was working on adding music videos to its app back in 2020 – with one of the biggest updates we saw before today being Video Podcasts.   

It'll be exciting to see how this new feature develops and changes throughout the beta testing period – and when it will be rolled out more widely to other countries. Will we see it added to other features like its AI DJ where it has its own persona that you can watch? Will more music videos be added to the catalog as licensing expands? We'll be here to update you with all the latest as we hear it. 

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Amelia Schwanke
Senior Editor UK, Home Entertainment

Amelia became the Senior Editor for Home Entertainment at TechRadar in the UK in April 2023. With a background of more than eight years in tech and finance publishing, she's now leading our coverage to bring you a fresh perspective on everything to do with TV and audio. When she's not tinkering with the latest gadgets and gizmos in the ever-evolving world of home entertainment, you’ll find her watching movies, taking pictures and travelling.