Spotify, the on-demand music service, is planning a major change.
According to two sources briefed on the company's plans, Spotify intends to become an on-demand music and video service – one that would invest in original content and compete heads-on with Netflix.
Although I'd certainly love to be wrong, I cannot help but think this'd be an extraordinarily poor decision.
Spotify is currently engaged in a race to the bottom in terms of pricing — not to mention fair pay for artists — in an already volatile industry. It's an unstable and unpredictable business worsened by the draconian attitudes held by media executives worldwide.
In my eyes, rather than involving itself in a well-saturated and unfamiliar industry with few differentiating factors at play, Spotify ought to prioritize the stabilization of its core business before all else.
The company is undoubtedly doing well, but I cannot shake the feeling that its long-term prospects are shrouded with uncertainty. Artists are frequently apprehensive of the service, its social element is bipolar, and users are often reticent to opt for paid service.
Video would provide a new means for user on-boarding, but any reasoning beyond that end is shallow, at best.
Personally, I switched from Spotify to Rdio in recent months specifically due to the former's seeming inability to focus on the core experience. In short, Rdio is focused on its product (i.e., creating the best music streaming experience available), whilst Spotify, on the other hand, is focused on distractions. That's a clear and present danger for Spotify in an increasingly contentious marketplace.
Rdio obviously has a relative in the video space, but it stands alone and apart from Rdio's core business. Perhaps that will not last for much longer, but, for now, it strikes me as an unquestionably positive position to be in, particularly compared to Spotify's prospective video option in the future.
Let Netflix, HBO, and Amazon fight over the streaming space. Only jump in if you have a way to disrupt and innovate, whilst obviating the competition. Otherwise, you'll invariably become an irrelevant and impotent entrant in a battle already well-fought.