Spotify's roadmap to dominate the music streaming industry

Listening to music has gone past the days when one had to download it on their devices. Music streaming services have changed that for good. These not only bring your favorite music right to your fingertips with the convenience of cross-platform accessibility but also do much more. The ability to discover new music, engage with the audiophile community, and share tracks seamlessly with fellow listeners are some benefits.

Sweden-based Spotify has been a force to reckon with in the industry thanks to its clean UI and a very potent algorithm that adapts to the listener's preference and mood. It already enjoys a slight upper hand over competing services like Apple Music, Tidal, YouTube Music, and Pandora, if you compare the complete package. Now Spotify wants to fix the chink in its armor and has a roadmap chalked out to dominate the music streaming industry and leave a massive impact; here's how.

Advanced AI that knows your mood

Spotify had filed a patent in 2018 that was granted on January 12, 2021. It allows the app to analyze the emotional state of a listener and a slew of other things like age, gender, or even the user's voice (pitch and loudness), and amount of ambient background noise. The latter will give the advanced AI a fair idea of the kind of setting you are in – be it a picnic with friends or at home in your room.

This means the streaming service will understand your current mood and suggest music based on it. Of course, Spotify will use it in conjunction with the smart AI algorithm that is able to suggest music based on the time of the day and history.

Some other patents such as the one that has a karaoke-like feature to overlay a track with vocals of the user or one that matches the tempo of the music with the physical activity (courtesy of the cadence-based media content selection engine), will also give the service strategic advantage in the coming future.

HiFi streaming tier

One thing Spotify didn't want to talk about when it comes to services like TIDAL, Dezeer and Amazon Music HD, is its high-quality audio streaming capability. It has been one of the most requested features on the app, and now it's finally coming to Spotify. Announced last month on 22 February, the CD-quality streaming tier will come in late 2021 for Spotify Premium subscribers who can upgrade the membership for high-quality lossless audio streams.

Currently, for paid subscribers, the best option for audio quality is 320 kbps. With HiFi lossless coming into the picture users will be able to listen to their favorite tracks at a higher 1,411 kbps bitrate. What will be pricing for the Spotify Hi-Fi audio streaming tier or when will it be released (in select markets initially) is still unknown.

One thing is for sure, going by how Spotify releases new features, users in the US and Europe are going to get it before most others. Same would hold true for the devices such as PlayStation 5 that are Spotify Connect enabled. Such devices could receive support before other devices that are not Connect enabled.

Podcast streaming coming together

Although Spotify's podcast efforts have not seen a huge spike, the progress has been steady, and now things are coming together. According to a recent market forecast, the service is going to surpass Apple in monthly US podcast listeners. This comes at the back of spending millions of dollars to gain exclusivity over the new Barack and Michelle Obama podcast featuring Bruce Springsteen.

It'll get past Apple with 28.2 million users in the US and a two-year prediction estimates the number of users will reach 33.1 million monthly by 2022 and 37.5 million by 2023. The strategy to put music and podcast under one roof has paid dividends, and Spotify now wants to walk over the competition.

Spotify is very smart when it comes to suggesting users tracks they might like based on their history. That novelty is going to seep into the podcasts with Spotify announcing that the machine learning algorithm is coming here too. Searches for podcasts will get a bump-up with a better suggestion platter for broader terms. The feature is currently being tested in the US and will roll out to other parts of the world.

For content creators, Spotify's partnership with WordPress brings the ability to create new podcasts by using the Anchor tool to convert written content into speech. Other such tools, be it the feature that allows users to ask questions or create polls in the podcast, or include a video in a podcast will also be so beneficial.

International expansion

Spotify has plans to double its footprint internationally in an effort to enhance the aggressive approach to kill the competition. The streaming service plans to launch in 85 more countries (and 36 new languages) including ones in developing nations across the Caribbean, Pacific, African and Asian continent.

It wants to add another billion users to the existing 345 million active user base – 155 million are premium users – in 95 countries. In fact, as we speak, Spotify is already launching in countries like Nigeria, Ghana, Sri Lanka, Samoa, Jamaica, Pakistan, and more. This is by far the most aggressive expansion strategy in years by this Swedish firm.

Of course, all this will give Spotify the edge over fierce competitors like Apple who also have their cards hidden in the deck. For now, Spotify looks on course to strengthen the grip of its dominance in a key market, and the expansion drive will help it attain global popularity.