New news programming from the likes of BuzzFeed can help Spotify capture some of the $18 billion spent on radio advertising each year.
Los Angeles—Spotify, the world’s largest paid music service, will begin offering news and political coverage to lure listeners away from radio and podcasts from rival Apple Inc.
Eight companies, including BuzzFeed and Refinery29, have agreed to produce programming for the new initiative, called Spotlight. One of the first shows will be a four- to seven-minute daily newscast featuring reporting from BuzzFeed journalists across the globe. Spotlight will only be available to customers in the U.S. at first.
News programming can help Spotify capture some of the $18 billion spent on radio advertising each year and boost profitability as it prepares to trade on the New York Stock Exchange. While the company almost single-handedly reversed the record industry’s long decline, it has been unable to turn a profit due to the high cost of music rights.
Segments on news, pop culture, sports and politics add a new dimension to Spotify, which was already diversifying beyond music with videos and podcasts for its more than 70 million users. Such programming can be more profitable, but it also puts Spotify more in competition with YouTube and Apple, two powerful rivals.