Spotify's latest feature tells you even more about music, podcasts and audio books

Competition in the world of music streaming is heating up. In what looks like an effort to get a leg up on competitors such as Apple, Spotify is expanding its offerings to include "visual podcasts" as part of a new format called "Spotlight."

Spotlight allows podcasters to complement their audio presentations with visual media, so that if your podcast is referring to a specific incident, you could make a video of that incident play in the left side of the app while you discuss it. Alternatively, you could show photos or text.

The first Spotlight-enabled podcasts focus on music, pop culture, politics, and sports, but other podcasts with more specialized topics should be hosting Spotlight content as soon as next month.

Many of the first Spotlight podcasts come from current popular Spotify partners such as BuzzFeed News and Cheddar. Naturally, Spotify is also offering Spotlight content from its original series like RISE and Secret Genius. For the time being, unfortunately, Spotlight content is only available in the US.

See Spot run

Spotlight is the first major feature announcement we've seen from Spotify this year, which may prove significant as the popular music streaming company is expected to launch an IPO sometime in this year's first fiscal quarter. 

That may or may not happen, though, as rumors about a Spotify IPO have been swirling about for years.