Spotify Entering Smart Speaker Market, Job Listing Suggests

Spotify is preparing to enter the smart speaker market, as suggested by its recently published job listing revealing the company is now entertaining applications for a Hardware Product Operations Manager. While the music streaming service provider is presently deeply integrated into a number of third-party offerings such as the Google Home and Amazon Echo speakers, the role described by the new listing isn't limited to such partnerships and also requires a candidate capable of managing various logistics, fulfillment, distribution, and customer service operations related to hardware products, thus being indicative of Spotify's growing ambitions in consumer electronics.

Moving into first-party hardware would be an effective way for Spotify to diversify its operations and improve the long-term prospects of its business, which is presently understood to be one of the company's top priorities due to its plans to go public at some point this year. Spotify is already said to have filed for an initial public offering in late 2017 and initially planned to list its shares in the first quarter of 2018, though its endeavor may end up being delayed until it settles a $1.6 billion lawsuit filed against it by music publisher Wixen last month. The timing of the complaint makes a settlement more likely even if Spotify is confident it could eventually win the case in the court of law as the firm presumably cannot afford a prolonged litigation process which could discourage investors. Such a turn of events would not be acceptable for the startup that's already said to be planning a direct listing without any underwriters, with that move alone being enough to deter some investors from betting on the firm due to a lack of assurances it provides.

By pushing into the smart speaker segment, Spotify would make a major step toward establishing a standalone music streaming ecosystem as it would likely attempt to turn its core user base into even more loyal customers who are fully invested in its offerings. The popularity of the company's music platform that presently boasts over 70 million paying subscribers could also be enough to position its hypothetical speaker (lineup) as an immediate threat to both Google and Amazon. Spotify isn't the only tech firm that's said to be planning to make its first foray into smart speakers in the near future, with Facebook supposedly seeking to launch two such offerings in July.

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