Spotify adds music videos in some countries

Spotify is adding music videos to its mobile and desktop apps in some markets. They are tightly integrated with the company’s music library as the streaming giant lets you seamlessly switch between audio and music videos in its mobile and desktop apps.

However, music videos are only available in beta in 11 select markets for now — and the U.S. isn’t part of this initial rollout. Here’s the full list of countries where you’ll find music videos starting today: Brazil, Colombia, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Kenya, Netherlands, Poland, Philippines, Sweden and UK.

“For this beta rollout, we chose these markets based on a number of criteria including market size and the availability of local content support . . . Stay tuned as we hope to expand the catalog of music videos and increase availability to more countries,” Spotify’s VP Global Head of Consumer Experience Sten Garmark said in an email.

In addition to living in one of those countries, music videos also require an active premium subscription. Free users still have to head over to YouTube to watch music videos.

Here’s how it’s going to work. Instead of searching for music videos directly or browsing videos in a separate section of the app, music videos can be started from the “Now Playing” screen. When you’re listening to a song that has a music video, you can tap on a button that says “Switch to Video” to… switch to video.

The music video starts playing from the beginning (even if you were in the middle of the track) and replaces the album artwork. If you want to view the video in full screen, you can rotate your phone to landscape.

For this feature, Spotify isn’t simply embedding a YouTube video or partnering with a third-party company. The company is hosting these videos directly and delivering them to its users without any ad. When asked about royalties when a song is played in video format compared to an audio stream, the company didn’t answer.

If you want to go back to background listening, you can tap on the button that says “Switch to Audio” to turn off the music video. And if you watch the music video until the end, Spotify will play the next song in your queue in audio.

On desktop, music videos appear in the right-hand column with information about the current song and artist. Spotify says that the feature is also available on TVs, where it makes a lot of sense. As a reminder, the company has released apps for the Apple TV, Android TV, Fire TV devices, gaming consoles and several smart TV models.

At first, only a limited number of music videos will be available in Spotify. But the company has already secured distribution rights to add more videos down the road.

“In our initial beta rollout, we’re starting with a limited subset of the full catalog, which includes thousands of music videos. Within this subset, we aimed to prioritize a wide range of genres and artists across our launch markets,“ Garmark said.

The timing of this feature release is interesting as Universal Music Group pulled out its songs from TikTok following a dispute over royalties. With music videos, Spotify is adding more video content to its app, beyond Clips (short videos of artists talking to fans) and Canvas (looping album artworks).

At the same time, Spotify is also catching up with other streaming services as music videos are available in YouTube Music when you search for a song or when you browse an artist page. Apple Music also has music videos in a separate section on each artist page. But, in both cases, it’s not as easy to switch from audio to video.

Image Credits: Spotify

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