Spotify’s hardware ambitions seem like a risky distraction

Look, it's no secret that Spotify is out to make its own hardware. As of last April, Spotify was already looking for people to help craft "a category-defining product akin to Pebble Watch, Amazon Echo and Snap Spectacles." (In hindsight, Spotify's HR…

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 further suggest the launch of a physical Spotify product will be 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.

Tag: Spotify

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Spotify job listing hints the company’s ‘first physical products’ are coming

 Spotify so far has been content to partner far and wide on hardware, via its Spotify Connect platform, which allows anyone building a connected speaker, mobile device or piece of AV equipment to turn their gadget into a Spotify speaker. But a new job listing suggests it will soon build hardware of its own, and it’s looking for people to help make that happen. The job listing, spotted by… Read More

Spotify might be building a smart speaker of its own

Spotify appears to be working a smart speaker that it says will be "category defining," according to new job listings. "Spotify is on its way to creating its first physical products and set up an operational organization for manufacturing, supply cha…

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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At last an end to geoblocking in Europe? Nope, not by a long chalk…

aerial of Europe with lights Hold your horses. Geoblocks for stuff like Netflix and Spotify are still not being vanquished in this round of EU Digital Single Market regulation chess…  Read More

Tweak Spotify’s recommendation tech to create custom playlists

If you're looking for a way to fine-tune your Spotify experience, you might want to check out Nelson, a web-based playback jukebox of sorts on app-maker website Glitch. You choose as many genres as you like before tweaking some of the Spotify API's v…

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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