Spotify is branching out of music with original video

Spotify is getting into original video content

Spotify wants to grab your eyes in addition to your ears, as the music streaming company is adding original video content produced exclusively for its once aural-only service.

Twelve different shows are reported to be in the works, each thematically revolving around Spotify's primary export - music - and include talent such as Def Jam Records co-founder Russell Simmons and actor Tim Robbins, of The Shawshank Redemption and Jacob's Ladder fame.

Simmons and his production company, All Def Digital, will produce a reality competition series called Rush Hour, in which hip-hop artists are tasked to create a collaborative piece on the fly that will then be performed live - kind of like a rhythmic version of working on a group project on the bus ride to school the day it's due.

Tim Robbins will produce a mockumentary-style series involving a faux competition to uncover the world's next dance music sensation, which we can only imagine will be some strange hybrid of Britain's Got Talent and a techno-flavored This is Spinal Tap.

The next episode

Several other projects remain in development, including Landmark, a documentary series covering major moments in music history. The first two episodes cover the rise of Metallica and the creation of The Beach Boys' "Pet Sounds" album.

"Music will always be most important, but our audience likes us and wants more from us," said Tom Calderone, Spotify's global head of content partnerships and a former Viacom exec. "We have to figure out a second act, and I think it will come out of video."

Future plans for Spotify also include collaborations with artists on upcoming albums - perhaps something akin to Lemonade - as well as comedy and animation series to round out the service's video tab.

Spotify's current video offerings have been available since the beginning of this year, but don't get much push from the app as it's comprised mostly of short clips from TV shows or YouTube channels rather than full-length programs.

The music streaming service has also made an effort to add podcasts to its repertoire in pursuit of, in Calderone's words, that "second act". It's a sentiment shared by other services like Apple Music and Tidal, which have also attached themselves to video projects.

Will Spotify have what it takes to take on Apple and YouTube while also tackling giants like Hulu and Netflix? I feel the answer is "most likely not," but I can't fault any attempt to get the most out of our monthly Spotify Premium subscription besides that sweet, sweet Discover Weekly playlist.

Via Bloomberg and Engadget

Parker Wilhelm
Parker Wilhelm is a freelance writer for TechRadar. He likes to tinker in Photoshop and talk people's ears off about Persona 4.