Business News Deals Digital

Spotify allies with Samsung as electronics firm launches smart speaker

By | Published on Friday 10 August 2018


Spotify has announced a new partnership with Samsung, and just as the consumer electronics giant unveils its new smart speaker too! It’s like people plan these things. The new partnership will more closely integrate the Spotify app with Samsung’s own products, making them slightly easier to set up for existing subscribers, and pushing the streaming service into the faces of Samsung consumers not yet streaming their tunes.

Explaining what the new alliance meant on the company’s website yesterday, Spotify main man Daniel Ek said: “This partnership with Samsung reduces the friction for users to get Spotify up and running on multiple Samsung devices once the accounts have been linked. It allows us to create a seamless music listening experience together for the user that would be hard for either of us to build alone”. Lovely stuff.

With its Galaxy Home smart speaker, Samsung is now going head-to-head with Apple, Amazon, Google and others in the already rather competitive ‘shout-and-play’ market. Controlled via its Alexa/Siri rival Bixby, the Samsung device is perhaps most akin to Apple’s HomePod, in that higher quality audio is being pushed to the fore over other functionality gimmicks and a competitive price point. Which may or may not be a good idea.

Over the years Samsung has had various goes at launching its own music services. I’ve not been keeping precise count, but it feels like there were about 4009 of them. None of which worked. So it makes sense for the electronics firm to ally with an existing market-leader as it pushes into the smart speaker space.

Such an alliance makes extra sense for Spotify, whose main competitors in subscription streaming have all gone big in the smart speaker domain. And Apple in particular has made sure its HomePod is very much skewed towards its own Apple Music.

Explaining how it will be (slightly) easier to set up Spotify on Samsung devices moving forward, Ek continued yesterday: “When someone buys a phone, the user can easily discover the Spotify app on Samsung Smart Switch. And soon, Samsung Smart TV users will be able to play Spotify through the SmartThings app. It’s a new level of integration that will allow Spotify to be easily accessible and discoverable on Samsung devices. As you move from room to room, your devices will be aware of your location and prompt you to effortlessly transition your listening between them”.

And in much the same way Siri favours Apple Music, Bixby will skew to Spotify by default. Ek explains: “When a user asks Bixby for music, Bixby will look to Spotify – even if that user has never used Spotify before – allowing listeners to receive recommendations from Spotify, discover new playlists, and create new musical experiences”.

Samsung isn’t the first traditional consumer electronics firm to abandon its own attempts at running a music platform in favour of just partnering with Spotify. In 2015, Sony shut down its Music Unlimited set-up and instead started pushing the Spotify service via its PlayStation Network.