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Spotify Offers Videos to Mobile App Users, Starts With Android

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Music-streaming service Spotify has finally added video to its offerings, something that's been in the works since May 2015. It's taking the rollout slowly, with video clips available on its Android app this week, with support coming for iOS devices late next week in the U.S., U.K, Germany, and Sweden. Users will need to go to the Browse screen and tap Shows to see video. The option is already available on the latest iOS release, although tapping Shows currently brings up an error message. Clearly, Spotify should have waited to upgrade the iOS app until it was ready to support iOS devices.

Spotify's videos include clips from ESPN, Comedy Central, the BBC, Vice, and Maker. In the future, Spotify will feature original music-themed series from Tastemade and other companies, says Spotify vice president of product Shiva Rajaraman, quoted in the Wall Street Journal.

The reason for the slow expansion is that Spotify has been conducting user tests to see what audiences like. It found that videos do better when they're related to the type of music the user prefers, and that grouping videos into packages (such as "News of the Week") and organizing them in one location improves performance. Videos won't carry ads just yet, as the company sees them as a tool to get users to spend more time with the app. Videos won't be available through the service's desktop interface.

“Obviously our primary user is a music fan, and they are not necessarily leaning in and looking into the app,” Rajaraman said. “So there are no particular recipes for how to get this right.”

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