As streaming takes over from downloading, services from Spotify to Beats Music to Google
are scrambling to answer a key question: What do listeners want to hear next? Spotify's
new move in that direction involves a marketing partnership with Viacom-owned cable
channels such as MTV, VH1 and Country Music Television.
The two companies announced a deal that will make music from popular shows from VH1's
Love and Hip Hop to MTV's Video Music Awards available via Spotify's Browse section over
the next three months. Viacom's programmers will create and maintain more than 100 playlists
on the service; Spotify will stream songs on the channels' online artist pages. "Instead of just
being able to watch videos, you're going to actually be able to listen to Spotify," says Shannon
Connolly, senior vice president of music strategy for MTV, VH1 and CMT. "The partnership is
pretty expansive it goes beyond the shows."
As streaming grows into the next big format for the music business revenues from subscription
services increased 51 percent last year, according to the International Federation of the Phonographic
Industry high-tech giants such as Apple, Google and Amazon are competing to dominate the market.
Because all the services tend to have similar technology and interchangeable song catalogs, they've
been trying to distinguish themselves through "curation." Apple bought heavily programmed Beats
Music for a reported $3 billion and Google bought playlist-creation service Songza.
Espinel calls the Viacom deal part of Spotify's effort to create "different voices and different angles"
within the service. "We think of this as programming," he says. With mixed results, Viacom has
attempted to be on the leading edge of new high-tech media over the last 15 years. In the early
days of the Internet, it had a splashy presence on the America Online service, and just as the
YouTube era was beginning in 2005, MTV launched its own video website, Overdrive, with mixed
success. (Viacom also works closely with Apple, Spotify's rival, selling apps, shows and podcasts
on iTunes.) "
Source: Rolling Stone