Insane or inspired? Spotify reported to be entering the online video market

Would you like video with your streaming music?

If you’re music streaming giant Spotify AB the answer to that question may well be yes with multiple reports Thursday that the company is in talks to enter the competitive online video market.

The Wall Street Journal quoted “people familiar with the matter” saying that the Stockholm, Sweden based company had approached multichannel networks (MCNs) that specialize in creating and distributing video for YouTube with an eye to both acquiring their existing material and creating original content.

The New York Times reported separately that Spotify had approached television companies including NBCUniversal, Fox, and Viacom, as well as Vice and Condé Nast.

The Times went further in saying that Spotify was offering potential partners millions of dollars along with the addition of shared revenue, to provide short clips that can be watched in an all-you-can-eat form and arranged into playlists.

Between the two reports it’s not exactly clear what Spotify is trying to build, or who it wants to compete with, given original content from MCN’s that supply YouTube (think Revision 3, Maker Studios and others) is a completely different vertical to dealing with big television companies.

Insane or inspired?

It is clear that Spotify is plotting something to do with video, even if the nature of the beast is yet to be determined.

However even guessing what sort of service Spotify is planning is difficult at best.

That it will likely be an ad-supported add-on to its core offering is a given, but will it be more Hulu than YouTube?

The possibilities of it competing at some level with Hulu given the potential content mix Spotify appears to be trying to achieve is one possibility, but then again there’s no indication that it’s trying to buy full content television programs to rebroadcast versus “short clips” as mentioned in the report from The New York Times. 

YouTube, on the other hand, has moved into streaming music as an additional service to its core video offering, potentially becoming a threat to Spotify in its core market; perhaps Spotify feels its needs to get into video to head off a potential challenge from YouTube?

Whatever the model Spotify is looking at rolling out, the market in online video is highly competitive, and while Spotify has a base of 60 million users to market it to, that’s still minnow figures compared to Hulu, YouTube, Dailymotion, and the various other players in the space.

Spotify has a media event scheduled for May 20, and maybe then we’ll find out whether the company entering the online video space is an insane or inspired idea.

photo credit: Julia is lounging via photopin (license)

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Duncan Riley

Duncan Riley is a senior writer at SiliconANGLE covering Startups, Bitcoin, and the Internet of Things.

Duncan is a co-founder of VC funded media company B5Media and founder of news site The Inquisitr, and was a senior writer at TechCrunch in its earlier days.

Tips? Press releases? Intersting startup? email: [email protected] or contact Duncan on Twitter @duncanriley

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