One of the prime uses of Smart-Speaker platforms for many is music provision. Research shows that once a Voice-First device is present in the home audio (and music) consumption soars. For this reason, it makes perfect sense that Spotify has been preparing to launch its very own device onto the market… and it seems the launch date is very close.
Over the last 2 months, the worlds largest streaming service has posted job advertisements and testing videos suggesting it is preparing to go toe-to-toe with Google Home, Alexa and (most significantly from a streaming perspective) Apples Home Pod. Now, having sent out invitations to an event in New York on April 24th, some are touting this to be the grand unveiling.
Spotify recently became a public company meaning they need to boost revenue to attract investors and taking a step into hardware could be seen as a canny move. Plus, if such devices drove subscriptions to their premium service it could be a winner on several fronts. Because of this, I’d expect actual hardware costs to be comparatively low but users would be required to take out a subscription to use the devices.
There are also rumours that an “in-car” speaker has been in development which would be one of the first significant steps in taking voice-assistants on the road and could prove to be a huge market advantage.
In recent months Spotify has been beta testing voice-controls via its iPhone app but it is yet (to my knowledge) to develop a fully functional voice assistant platform. So, to create a true “smart-speaker” they would need to buddy up with the likes of Google or Amazon. Alternatively, the new product could be less a smart-speaker and more a voice controlled music player that provides another way to access Spotify’s services.
The speed of the developments means that there has been little time for speculation in terms of functionality or appearance of Spotify’s new technology. The fact that it could launch later this month is a rumour in itself. However, surely, music will be at its heart and the “sound” is likely to be an improvement on the much-criticised audio quality of Alexa. Another question whether Spotify restrict access to their service on other devices to push their own hardware? Although, given their subscription model, this is extremely unlikely.
The Smart-Speaker market is pretty saturated right now and if Spotify is going to make an impact then it’ll need to stand out from the crowd – and an in-car player may just be the point of difference they need to make that splash!