Spotify has introduced a new feature called Spotlight, which is essentially a fresh multimedia format that aims to improve the way users listen to podcasts, audiobooks, and other audio content on the music streaming service. Spotlight features visual layers that include photos, videos, and text that users will see oftentimes in between watching episodes so that they gain a more in-depth knowledge of their favorite artists, playlists or books.
The Sweden-based music and video streaming service initially rolled out the new multimedia format with content in the United States in collaboration with a number of partners that include BuzzFeed News, Cheddar, Crooked Media, Lenny Letter, Gimlet Media, Genius, and Refinery29. Additionally, Spotify promised to bring the new feature to more markets in the future, though its availability in other territories remains uncertain at the moment. It also remains unclear in which countries the multimedia format is planned for a rollout, as Spotify fell short of providing this information in its press release announcing the new feature. Content to be featured on Spotlight will be provided by Spotify's original series like Secret Genius, RISE, Spotify Singles and the Viva Latino podcast. It is understood that the visual podcast will deliver news, information and other content in a playlist form across various categories. Spotify says it will roll out more series in the near future. It's worth pointing out that the new feature does not modify the current user interface of Spotify, but instead adds visual elements to the users' listening experience.
It remains to be seen if Spotify's new podcast solution will gain a huge base of followers. As of July last year, Spotify has 60 million paying subscribers in a further expansion to its lead in the music streaming segment, and the number continues to grow, eclipsing Apple Music. Spotlight's debut comes at a time when Spotify needs to demonstrate a big market value as it reportedly plans to go public with a direct listing in spring. As of December last year, Spotify's valuation was estimated to be approximately around $20 billion, which was more than double the company's valuation in 2015. The rise in Spotify's valuation is likely due to its exchange of stock with a Chinese tech giant, Tencent.