Spotify’s “big bet”: Original video

matt baxter canvasMatt Baxter was installed as Global Head of Original Content at Spotify in July. This morning he was interviewed at MIPCOM (a trade show for communications industries, slanted to television), and revealed Spotify’s intent to create original video content.

“This is a big bet for the company across the entire company. Our mission at Spotify with the original content initiative is to look at the deep data we have on our audience base, and start to program that with deep diversity of content.”

Baxter’s remarks were like a shot across the bow of Apple Music, where Jimmy Iovine called Spotify and other on-demand services “utilities.” Baxter’s appointment to an executive post to create original content, much of which will apparently be video, represent a seemingly bold new dimension for Spotify.

Baxter talked about original content in the television realm, and referenced YouTube several times. He himself came to Spotify from Buzzfeed, where he was Head of Branded Video — so apparently hired to bring expertise in original video.

Spotify had already announced its intention to broaden the catalog beyond music, by adding podcasts and short videos. CEO Daniel Ek called that “A massive leap forward for Spotify.” Along with that announcement came news of content-producing partnerships. There was a potential original slant to the partnerships, but Baxter’s remarks today indicate a more focused commitment.

We have not seen podcasts or videos in our iOS and Android Spotify test apps. Baxter put a general time frame around new content releases by saying, “In the next 3-6 months we have to experiment with a bunch of different things. […] We’ve got some relationships in place where we are licensing some content from publishers but we are also working on original stuff.”


Brad Hill