Two social platforms just announced new uses and both have to do with the digital music world, signaling continued innovation aimed at millennials. Spotify and Snapchat have both made carrying your music with you easier than ever and these recent announcements take mobile music consumption to the next level. Consider the gauntlet thrown, Jay-Z and Tidal: these platforms aren't giving up the fight for mobile music-listeners any time soon.
Snapchat: The New MTV?
Snapchat has long been known for being king of ephemeral media, but with more than 700 million snaps sent daily (a low estimate) it's ephemera with serious market power.
Snapchat's innovation arc has been both classic and fascinating. What began as purely ephemeral has slowly evolved into offering traditional media content with a twist.
First, there were personal snaps sent to friends that lasted mere seconds before disappearing. The introduction of curated "stories," which last longer and can be broadcast to a wider audience, was exciting, but those still disappear into the Snapchat ether after 24 hours. With January's introduction of the Discover feature, Snapchat opened the doors to select media outlets, and media outlets walked jauntily through. In the Discover section of Snapchat, users can peruse snack-sized content from places like CNN, Comedy Central, and National Geographic.
And now that original content includes music videos. Remember them? Those long-abandoned music movies that are now stumbled upon at YouTube or teased on Taylor Swift's Instagram? Well, heads up, everyone. Snapchat just entered the music video house.
The indie artist, Goldroom, has been releasing four music videos this week on Snapchat's Snap channel, which is accessible on the Discover tab of the app. Also available around the music video releases are behinds-the-scenes exclusive content, including making-of videos and interviews, all with special Snapchat share buttons, of course.
With over half of Snapchat users under the age of 25, debuting original and highly-produced content on this platform could be a game-changer for musicians.
And while Madonna released her new music video on Snapchat in February, what's remarkable about this Goldroom campaign is that all videos are shot in vertical format to accommodate the way people hold their phones. Here we're seeing traditional media bend to mobile media in a serious way.
Once mocked by Generation X and brands for its assumed lack of staying power, Snapchat has proven again and again to make smart, tactical, and ahead-of-the-curve innovations. I can't wait to see what they do next.
Spotify: A Runner's Best Friend
Today's major announcements from Spotify are certainly not music to Jay-Z's ears
Spotify's ascent hasn't been as rocket ship-fast, but it's hold in the market has been steady and consistent, as well as appealing across a wide range of demographics. Today's announcements make the platform even more necessary, whether you only listen to music at the gym or you're playlist-famous.
In addition to announcing that the platform will now host non-music content like podcasts and video, it will now predict what kinds of playlists you'll be into and also curate a running playlist that changes with the changing tempo of your workout.
In the first innovation, Spotify is using data to become more intelligent. It will use its massive amounts of data to predict and create playlists around what you've already listened to at specific times of the day. And if that doesn't make you want to give Spotify a big hug (or seriously creep you out), hop on over to the Running feature.
Can't keep up with Rita Ora's beats as your feet hit the pavement? No worries, Spotify's got you covered so you'll stay motivated in its second innovation. This running feature figures your running pace based on your phone's sensors and changes the music in real time to align with that pace.
These announcements come on the heels of last week's private Jay-Z concert for Tidal users, in which he bashed Spotify and Apple in a rap, and Beyonce and Nicky Minaj's video debut exclusively on the platform.
But can Tidal win the war against Spotify's Goliath announcements? Is an exclusive Beyonce track enough to sway users from a smart app that learns not only your daytime and nighttime music routines but your workout needs?
In any case, it's clear there's a real war to be fought over music-listeners and control of the digital music world, especially as more and more users look to their smartphone for the latest and greatest.
Who will jump into this battle next? Where will the next mobile war be fought? Let me know in your comments below.