Here Are All the New Features Packed Inside Spotify

21 May 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Here Are All the New Features Packed Inside Spotify.

Pandora, Slacker, Songza, Spotify, and Tidal are just a few of the many streaming-music services designed to bring a dazzling array of tunes to your ears.Spotify announced Wednesday that it has added video content and new playlists in its latest update, as it works to maintain its footing in the ever-expanding streaming market.Earlier today, in an airplane hangar-esque building on Manhattan’s far West Side, music streaming service Spotify revealed its next move in a quest for long-term profitability: a plan to move beyond music streaming.

The service will now offer video clips and audio shows, including content from Disney, ABC, NBC, ESPN, BBC News, Comedy Central and MTV, among others. Spotify founder Daniel Ek stepped to the stage in front of dozens of reporters and photographers and explained that his company would be pushing into the world of podcasts and video, even as it continues to increase its market share in music. Moving on, Spotify also announced what it’s calling the “Now start page,” a feature which recommends songs to users based on their taste, mood, and the time of day.

The company has already partnered with a vast range of media companies, many of them—including NBC, Vice, WNYC, Slate and ESPN —with their logos projected on the wall behind Ek during his talk. In addition, Spotify said it also is introducing original content, such as “A Full English,” a show that will feature artists and other personalities who search for common ground over breakfast. Spotify is expanding well beyond streaming music, adding TV shows and original video content, podcasts and radio shows, new discovery tools, and an electronic jogging buddy to its mobile app. That’s a lot of customers, but retaining them is the tricky part, as they can listen to hip-hop, rock, pop, jazz, and other music genres via any number of streaming-music services.

As we said earlier today: Spotify cofounder Daniel Ek described this feature as a music format “where the composition itself seems to magically rearrange to fit your current pace.” Expect a hands-on from us soon. In recent months, the streaming service has been facing growing competition and criticism, after Taylor Swift pulled her music from Spotify last year and Jay Z re-launched Tidal with his megastar minions. As FORBES explained in the recent magazine feature “Revenge Of The Record Labels,” the majors—which own large stakes in both Spotify and Deezer—continue to extract hefty advances from the services in exchange for the right to use their catalogues. The video foray coincides with talks in which Spotify is seeking to raise more than $400 million from investors in a round of funding that would value the company at more than $8.4 billion, The Wall Street Journal has reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

It will likely face more competition later this year, as Apple is expected to relaunch Beats as its own streaming service, though it has not confirmed when the launch would take place. 2015 may not bring everything that Back to the Future II promised it would: flying cars, self-lacing shoes, we don’t see ’em happening over the next 12 months. (Then again, don’t bet against Nike.) But this year will definitely pack plenty of punch when it comes to cultural happenings. Spotify said, “Spotify Running will start rolling out to iPhone users globally today.” The “Now experience” (those new playlists) will gradually roll out, Spotify said, “to iPhone users in the U.S., U.K., Germany, and Sweden — with more markets and platforms to follow in the near future.” This means if you have an Android phone, or use Spotify on the Web or desktop, you can expect some love “in the near future.” Until then, you’re SOL. Mad Max will roar back out of the apocalypse while Mad Men rides off into the sunset, rock’s Antichrist Superstar and hip-hop’s Yeezus will rise again. Yet it seems there are too many hands in the pot to make everyone happy: the streaming services haven’t achieved profitability, the majors are still grasping for a path toward long-term viability, and artists continue to complain that they’re not getting paid.

Now, Spotify is attempting a similar expansion with content from the likes of ABC, BBC, Comedy Central, Fusion, Maker Studios, NBC, Nerdist, TED, and Vice Media. Perhaps this is part of the reason Spotify and Deezer are exploring new types of content, with the former taking aim at YouTube’s model and the latter challenging traditional radio.

It’s also worth noting that both are likely beefing up their content strategies in advance of the long-awaited relaunch of Apple Apple’s streaming service. After months of escalating protests and grassroots organizing in response to the police killings of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, police reformers have issued many demands. The moderates in this debate typically qualify their rhetoric with “We all know we need police, but…” It’s a familiar refrain to those of us who’ve spent years in the streets and the barrios organizing around police violence, only to be confronted by officers who snarl, “But who’ll help you if you get robbed?” We can put a man on the moon, but we’re still lacking creativity down here on Earth. A new emphasis on playlists was followed by the revelation of a tool that will automatically find music with a beats-per-minute rate to match a runner’s stride. “By personalizing the playlist promotion along with creating a unique workout experience, users will interact with playlists more than they ever have,” says Jay Frank, chief of digital marketing outfit DigMark. “It also signals the beginning round of the playlist wars that will define each streaming service.” As if to reaffirm Spotify’s commitment to music, Ek closed the morning’s events by announcing a surprise performance featuring D’Angelo and Questlove. “After years of decline, music is ready to grow again,” said Ek, just before a door slid open to reveal his musical guests. “Streaming is the growth in music, and Spotify is the growth in streaming.

While law enforcers have existed in one form or another for centuries, the modern police have their roots in the relatively recent rise of modern property relations 200 years ago, and the “disorderly conduct” of the urban poor. With a concentration on short-form clips and TV episodes, the Spotify video offerings look to be more of a rival for Hulu and VOD than movie-streaming services. Like every structure we’ve known all our lives, it seems that the policing paradigm is inescapable and everlasting, and the only thing keeping us from the precipice of a dystopic Wild West scenario. Stop believing that police are heroes because they are the only ones willing to get in the way of knives or guns – so are the members of groups like Cure Violence, who were the subject of the 2012 documentary The Interrupters.

There are also feminist models that specifically organize patrols of local women, who reduce everything from cat-calling and partner violence to gang murders in places like Brooklyn. Runners get their own entire section of the Spotify overhaul with a set of features billed as Spotify Running, which is geared toward matching music to your own pace. While police forces have benefited from military-grade weapons and equipment, some of the most violent neighborhoods have found success through peace rather than war. While you’re running, the app uses your smartphone sensors to recognize your tempo, then dynamically creates a playlist of songs that syncs up to your speed in terms of beats per minute. Spotify also says it has created a new file format that can change its tempo based on your running rhythm; there will be a few Spotify-composed selections that change to match your tempo in real-time.

Violent offenses count for a fraction of the 11 to 14 million arrests every year, and yet there is no real conversation about what constitutes a crime and what permits society to put a person in chains and a cage. According to Spotify, the new features will show up in the iOS app first, Spotify Running and the Now recommendation engine could appear as soon as today (everything announced today will be mobile first—possibly mobile-only). “There’s a profound change happening in music,” said Spotify CEO Daniel Ek during the announcement.

Decriminalization doesn’t work on its own: The cannabis trade that used to employ poor Blacks, Latinos, indigenous and poor whites in its distribution is now starting to be monopolized by already-rich landowners. To quote investigative journalist Christian Parenti’s remarks on criminal justice reform in his book Lockdown America, what we really need most of all is “less.” Also known as reparative or transformative justice, these models represent an alternative to courts and jails.

From hippie communes to the IRA and anti-Apartheid South African guerrillas to even some U.S. cities like Philadelphia’s experiment with community courts, spaces are created where accountability is understood as a community issue and the entire community, along with the so-called perpetrator and the victim of a given offense, try to restore and even transform everyone in the process. It has also been used uninterrupted by indigenous and Afro-descendant communities like San Basilio de Palenque in Colombia for centuries, and it remains perhaps the most widespread and far-reaching of the alternatives to the adversarial court system. Communities that have tools to engage with each other about problems and disputes don’t have to consider what to do after anti-social behaviors are exhibited in the first place.

In Mexico, where one of the world’s most corrupt police forces only has credibility as a criminal syndicate, there have been armed groups of Policia Comunitaria and Autodefensas organized by local residents for self-defense from narcotraffickers, femicide and police. Obviously these could become police themselves and then be subject to the same abuses, but as a temporary solution they have been making a real impact. In New York, Rikers Island jails as many people with mental illnesses “as all 24 psychiatric hospitals in New York State combined,” which is reportedly 40% of the people jailed at Rikers. We have created a tremendous amount of mental illness, and in the real debt and austerity dystopia we’re living in, we have refused to treat each other for our physical and mental wounds. Mental health has often been a trapdoor for other forms of institutionalized social control as bad as any prison, but shifting toward preventative, supportive and independent living care can help keep those most impacted from ending up in handcuffs or dead on the street.

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