Spotify Makes Moves With New Multimedia Podcast Format
After Apple bought a podcast search engine and Pandora wanted to make a “podcast Genome Project”, it is now Spotify’s turn to make a move in the podcasting space. Yesterday they announced “Spotlight” which adds visuals to podcasts.
From a Spotify press release:
Today, Spotify launches its new multimedia format, Spotlight, which introduces visual layers to complement the listening experience for podcasts, audiobooks, news, and other audio content.
A few questions spring to mind:
The strength of podcasts is that they occupy those moments when your eyes are busy. Why add visuals to a medium that is usually playing from a phone in your pocket? I can totally understand the use case for adding more images (true crime podcasts could add maps and photos) but I want them as rich show notes that I can look at after I’ve finished listening.
How many visuals to you need to add to audio before you’ve just made a video? I was trolling when I tweeted yesterday “As Slate pivots to audio, Spotify pivots to video”, but it is becoming a cliché to “pivot to video”. In the worst case, this is just another video product (and Spotify doesn’t have a great history with video) or in the best case, I’m thinking of it as almost a ‘simplification’ of video where users treat it like a new video product where you don’t have to watch the video. If you are sitting on a bus and want to watch it then great, if you’re driving then you can just listen to the audio.
Does it work offline?
Since it is an additive experience, I would love to see Spotify open this format up to all podcast creators not just select parters. Potentially they could add some Spotify-specific tags in the RSS spec as RadioPublic did.