Spotify Job Listings Say Company ‘On Its Way’ to Launch of First Physical Products, Hinting at HomePod Rival

Following an ad for a senior product manager last spring that hinted at Spotify's interest in creating a hardware product, this week a collection of new job listings by Spotify further suggest the potential launch of a physical Spotify product coming in the future (via Music Ally). The listings call for an Operations Manager: Hardware Product, Senior Product Manager: Hardware Production, and Project Manager: Hardware Production and Engineering.

According to the page for the Operations Manager, Spotify is "on its way" to developing and launching its "first physical products," potentially hinting at an upcoming rival device to Apple's HomePod. Although the job listing pages are not full confirmations of Spotify's entry into the smart speaker market, in terms of physical hardware a speaker of some kind does make sense for the music streaming company. The "connected hardware" could also refer to devices like wireless headphones and other music-based products.


A Spotify speaker would enter the market as a competitor to products like Apple's HomePod, which as of now can play Spotify but lacks deep integration with the service and instead favors Apple Music. Spotify's speaker could flip that and focus on the company's own streaming customers, of which there is a large market of more than 140 million subscribers worldwide who could be interested in a Spotify-focused speaker.

The person who gets hired for the position will help the company in setting up an operational organization for manufacturing, and build up the supply chain, sales, and marketing, all while working out of the company's office in Stockholm. All three job listings state that the employee's work will "impact the way the world experiences music."
Spotify is on its way to creating its first physical products and setting up an operational organisation for manufacturing, supply chain, sales & marketing.

We are looking for a passionate and seasoned Operations Manager that will contribute in the creation of innovative Spotify experiences via connected hardware. You will define and manage Distribution, Supply, Logistics, fulfillment and Customer Service for Hardware Products. You will also work with partners to deliver the optimal Spotify experience to millions of users. Above all, your work will impact the way the world experiences music.
As the rivalry between Apple Music and Spotify has grown since the former service's mid-2015 launch, Apple Music is now forecasted to overtake Spotify in paid subscriber numbers in the United States as soon as this summer. That prediction came from The Wall Street Journal earlier in the month, in a report that stated Apple Music's monthly growth rates have been exceeding Spotify's by about three percentage points. In terms of worldwide numbers, Spotify still has about 70 million paid subscribers compared to Apple Music's 36 million.

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Sonos Makes a Spotify Playlist for Apple’s HomePod With Hidden ‘We’re Going to Be Friends’ Message

To celebrate the official launch of the HomePod, Sonos, one of Apple's major competitors in the speaker market, made a "Welcome to the Party" playlist for the new device with a hidden message.


Shared on Twitter, the playlist features 21 songs, with each song selected for its title to send a secret note to Apple. Here's the song list:

Hello / Apple / Something About Us / Together / Feels Right / Even Though / You're Crazy / For This / Home / POD / Remember / Two Is Better Than One / Just Playing / It's a Party / Everybody's Coming To My House / Even You / Come As You Are / Fruit Machine / No Matter What You're Told / We're Going To Be Friends / Over Everything

Sending messages through Spotify playlists is a phenomenon that was popular for a brief time right around April of 2017, due to the way Spotify playlists can be arranged and displayed linearly on both the web and within Spotify's apps. The practice is less common now, and though Sonos is using it to send what appears to be a friendly message, it's also a jab at Apple.


The Sonos Spotify playlist made for Apple can't be played natively on an Apple HomePod because the HomePod is limited to content played from Apple Music or iTunes. It can, of course, be played using AirPlay from a connected Mac or iOS device, but that's less convenient than the native playback available via Sonos speakers.


Sonos hasn't had much competition in the high-end connected speaker market, and for years, it's been the go-to brand for high-quality multi-room sound, so it's not surprising that the company feels somewhat threatened by the HomePod.

The launch of devices like the Amazon Echo and the Google Home likely didn't concern Sonos because of the lack of focus on audio quality, but many new HomePod owners have discovered that the HomePod sounds just as good or better than Sonos speakers.

Back in October, Sonos launched its Sonos One, a speaker that directly competes with the HomePod thanks to the combination of Sonos sound and Amazon Alexa smarts.

Sonos kept the price of the Sonos One low at $199, and when the HomePod went on sale, as an attempt to lure Apple customers, Sonos kicked off a deal offering two of its Sonos One speakers for $349, the same price as a single HomePod.


While Sonos and Apple are now direct competitors, the HomePod and the Sonos One can peacefully co-exist once Apple's AirPlay 2 protocol officially launches. Sonos has promised to add AirPlay 2 support to the Sonos One, and with AirPlay 2, a person who owns both a Sonos One and a HomePod will be able to play music to both devices at the same time over-the-air.

Related Roundup: HomePod
Tags: Spotify, Sonos
Buyer's Guide: HomePod (Buy Now)

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Apple Music Now Has 36 Million Subscribers, Could Eclipse Spotify in United States This Year

Apple Music now has 36 million paying subscribers around the world, an increase from well over 30 million reported last September.


Apple confirmed the updated total to The Wall Street Journal, which today reported that Apple Music is growing at a faster pace than Spotify in the United States, and could soon eclipse the service in popularity in the country.
Apple's subscriber-account base in the U.S. has been growing about 5% monthly, versus Spotify's 2% clip, according to the people familiar with the numbers. Assuming those growth rates continue, Apple will overtake Spotify in accounts this summer.
On a worldwide scale, Spotify maintains a sizeable lead over Apple Music. The streaming music service revealed that it has 70 million paying subscribers a month ago, making it nearly twice as large as Apple Music. Spotify also has a free, ad-supported tier, giving it over 140 million listeners overall around the world.

Spotify expanded to the United States in 2011, while Apple Music simultaneously launched in over 100 countries in 2015. In terms of paid subscriptions, both services offer individual plans for $9.99 per month, student plans for $4.99 per month, and family plans sharable with up to six people for $14.99 per month.

Apple Music has the benefit of being preinstalled on hundreds of millions of iPhones and iPads. It's also available on Mac, PC, Android, Apple Watch, Apple TV, vehicles equipped with CarPlay, Sonos, and HomePod.


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Discord Desktop Apps Gain Deep Spotify Integration, Including Real-Time ‘Listen Along’ Feature

Gaming-focused chat platform Discord today announced a new integration with Spotify that will allow users to connect their Spotify accounts to Discord in order to showcase what they're listening to. Spotify Premium subscribers will be able to "Listen Along" to songs and full playlists together with fellow Premium members directly within their Discord server, which syncs up tracks so that each user is hearing everything at the same time.


Non-Premium members will have the ability to display a currently listening to track in their Discord profile, so when friends click on the profile they can discover new music with a "Play on Spotify" button. Discord confirmed to MacRumors that the Spotify update will be available for both the Mac and PC apps, as well as in web browsers, and all of the Spotify integrations will go live on Discord today.

On iOS, Discord users will be able to see what their friends are listening to, but shared listening will only be available on the desktop apps.
“This is the next natural step to highlight the importance of music as an integral part of the gaming experience,” said Mikael Ericsson, Product Director, Platform & Partner Experience at Spotify. “Starting today, we’re really excited to offer Spotify Premium and Discord users the ability to listen together as a group or highlight what they’re jamming out to while enjoying their favorite games.”
Today's updates are set to become more enhanced additions to existing features already available in Discord. For example, the chat app previously included syncing with Spotify to show when members of a server were using the music streaming service, but today's announcement is a far deeper integration between the two companies with specific track listings that show song, album, and time in the song.


There have also been bots in Discord that perform a somewhat similar function to Listen Along, allowing server mods to create channels where users can add songs to a playlist -- with audio usually sourced from YouTube music videos -- and let multiple people join in the channel to listen in real time and edit what's coming up next.


For those who haven't downloaded it yet, Discord is a free app for Mac, PC, iOS, and Android that lets its users join servers that are typically aimed at discussing a specific game and organizing events around the game. The Mac app is available to download on the company's website and the iOS app is free on the App Store [Direct Link].


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Spotify Testing Free Pandora-Style ‘Stations’ App on Android Devices

Spotify is doubling down on free music and has begun testing a standalone app that offers a station-based streaming music experience similar to Pandora's original music service, reports Variety.

"Stations," available on Android devices in Australia, is designed to let users stream free music from curated radio-like stations. The app's description says that Stations "is an experiment by Spotify that makes it easy for anyone to listen to great music."

Stations is the easiest way to listen to the music you love. Totally free.

When you have access to all the music in the world, finding the right thing to play can feel like a challenge. With Stations, you can listen immediately, and switching stations is simple and seamless--no searching or typing needed. As you listen, it learns what you like and creates personalised stations that you'll love.
Based on the app's description, Stations is designed to make it quick and easy to find new music, with the app offering up personalized stations after it "learns what you like." Spotify says there's no searching or typing required to use the app.

It's not clear what Spotify plans to do with Stations in the future, and it's not known if the company plans to eventually release an iOS app, but Stations does fill a much-needed function - it provides more free listening options for customers on mobile devices.

Spotify's main app also has a free ad-supported listening tier, but the on-demand service is limited to customers who use Spotify on the desktop. On mobile devices, listening options are far more limited.

Spotify's main app boasts 140 million total active subscribers and 70 million paying subscribers, so the unpaid market is still huge for Spotify and one consumer group that Apple does not reach. Apple Music has no free listening tier, and Apple has no plans to implement one.

For now, Spotify's new Stations app is limited to a select number of Android devices in Australia and it is supported via ads.

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Spotify’s Annual ‘Wrapped’ Feature Serves Up Playlists Based on Your 2017 Listening Habits

Spotify's annually hosted Wrapped website went live today, offering subscribers a look back at their listening habits over the last twelve months.

After the user logs in with their Spotify credentials, the site tells them how many minutes in total they listened for in 2017, including the number of different songs and artists they listened to, and how many genres they explored along the way.


Users then move onto a short quiz where they get to guess their top songs, artists, and genres over the course of the year, before being revealed the results.

The site then provides "Your Top Songs of 2017", collected in one playlist, as well as a playlist titled "Ones That Got Away", which includes a selection of unplayed tracks released in 2017 that are "based on what you love", according to Spotify.

Buttons are presented on the site that let users play the playlists in Spotify, although we had trouble getting the function to work from within the desktop Safari browser (Chrome and Firefox had no such trouble). The site doesn't seem to like Safari on iOS if content blockers are enabled, either.

In addition to the Wrapped feature, Spotify today released its Year in Music lists, which revealed that Ed Sheeran was the service's most streamed artist globally in 2017, racking up 47 million listeners, while his latest album, ÷, was played 3.1 billion times. Meanwhile, Rihanna was the most streamed female artist of the year, with Drake, Taylor Swift, and Coldplay also proving popular choices throughout 2017.

(Via TechCrunch.)

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Spotify Testing Like/Dislike Feature for Songs in Discover Weekly Playlists

Spotify is quietly testing a new feature that enables listeners to provide positive or negative feedback on track selections in Discover Weekly playlists.


First spotted by Mashable, Spotify has started including a small heart symbol and a blocked sign at the lower left corner of the desktop app interface when a song is playing in a Discover Weekly playlist. When users hover over the heart or blocked sign, a description overlay shows "Like" or "Don't like", respectively.

Clicking "Like" adds the track to the listener's library, while clicking "Don't like" causes a dialog to appear asking whether it's the song or the artist the user isn't keen on. Selecting either ensures that track/artist doesn't show in Discover Weekly again.

According to Spotify, it is testing the like/dislike buttons as a possible new feature for Discover Weekly (they can already be found in the Daily Mix), but they won't appear for everyone, and the streaming service still hasn't decided if a full rollout will follow.

Spotify's Discover Weekly playlist has been a hit with subscribers. Spotify announced in May 2016 that more than 40 million people had used the playlist service, streaming just under five billion tracks in under a year. As Mashable notes, some users have been requesting like/dislike buttons for the playlists for at least a couple of years.

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Spotify Launches Limited Time Holiday Offer: Get One Year of Premium for $99

Spotify today announced a new limited time holiday offer for new and existing Premium subscribers, allowing them to purchase a full year of the service for $99.00. The new price is $20 down from the $120 that users would pay by subscribing to the service on a month-by-month basis of $9.99 (via Engadget). The offer expires December 31, 2017, and after the 12 months is up Spotify will return users to their previous subscription billing at the then-current price.


The offer is only for new or existing individual plans (so Spotify Family plans are not eligible), can not be paid for with Spotify gift cards or prepaid cards, and will not be available to users who subscribe to Spotify through a third-party offer. Find more details about the yearly offer in Spotify's terms and conditions right here.

With Spotify's new offer, the company is matching Apple Music's $99.00 12 month subscription that users have been able to purchase for just over a year, effectively netting subscribers 12 months of music streaming for the price of 10. Spotify's deal doesn't come in the form of a physical card, but the company does offer retail cards with credit tiers that are used to pay for subscriptions before the credit card on an account is charged.

Visit our Deals Roundup for more sales and discounts going on this week.

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Spotify Launches Holiday Sale: New Users Can Get Three Months of Premium for $0.99

Spotify today launched its holiday discounts, giving new users three months of Spotify Premium for $0.99, after which they'll need to pay the traditional $9.99/month subscription cost or cancel their account beforehand. The sale is similar to discounts launched in years past, with Spotify encouraging new users to sign up to the music streaming service over the holidays.

This year, there's an additional deal for those who have signed up for Spotify Premium, but then left the service at one point in the past. Specifically, if you didn't have an active Spotify Premium account as of October 21, 2017 -- meaning you canceled your account before that date -- you can return to Spotify and get three months of the service for $9.99. Unfortunately, there isn't a deal for paid subscribers who have stayed with Spotify.

Three months of Spotify Premium that gives you access to millions of songs on demand, ad free, and high quality audio, for less than a dollar? That is what music fans can expect this season as Spotify announces two of its biggest deals of the year. Whether you are curating a list of your favorite holiday-themed tracks or compiling a playlist of the hottest songs of the year for an upcoming Holiday party, these offers will undoubtedly warm up your mood this season.

- First-time Spotify Premium users can receive three months for just $0.99 if they have not previously provided credit card information or used a 30-day trial.
- Spotify Premium users that did not have an active account as of October 21, 2017 can receive three months for the price of one: $9.99.
If you're interested you can sign up for Spotify Premium on the company's website, and you have until December 31, 2017 to take advantage of the offers. For new users, Spotify said it will check to see that you have not previously provided credit card information or used a 30-day trial of Spotify Premium in order to grant the three month price at $0.99.

For more of the latest sales going on this week, be sure to check out our Deals Roundup and Black Friday Roundup.

Related Roundup: Apple Deals
Tag: Spotify

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Spotify App Updated With Support for iPhone X Displays

Spotify updated its iOS app today with support for iPhone X, exactly two weeks since Apple's latest smartphone launched. The update removes the letterboxing of Spotify's interface on the iPhone X's 5.8-inch OLED display, which should come as welcome news to heavy users of the app, allowing them to see more of track lists and search results on the screen, and more artwork when browsing albums and playlists.

"Stranger Things Mode" before (left) and after Spotify iPhone X update

The music streaming service is unusually late to the game on this front, with many top App Store apps already having updated their interfaces for the iPhone's 1,125 × 2,436 resolution display, which results in roughly 20 percent additional vertical space for content compared to the 4.7-inch displays of the iPhone 6, 7, and 8.


Apple was naturally quick to publish human interface guidelines for developers coding iPhone X apps. The documentation explains the changes that need to be made to ensure apps make the most of the additional space. At the same time, the guidance warns developers away from encroaching on certain areas of the screen, including the rounded corners, sensor housing, and indicator for accessing the Home screen.

Spotify is a free download for iPhone and iPad available on the App Store. [Direct Link]

Related Roundup: iPhone X
Tag: Spotify
Buyer's Guide: iPhone X (Buy Now)

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