Spotify is to produce its own original TV shows

10 May 2016

Actor Tim Robbins is to star in one of 12 new original TV shows being produced by Spotify

Streaming platform Spotify’s ambitions for video are accelerating, with the news that the company is making 12 original series, including shows involving actor Tim Robbins, as well as Def Jam Records co-founder Russell Simmons.

The Swedish streaming platform is expected to unveil plans for the first set of shows on Monday.

Spotify is hoping its audience of 75m users will have more reasons to spend time on the service and potentially drive a wedge between it and services like YouTube and Apple Music.

Episodes of each programme – expected to last a few minutes up to 15 minutes – will initially be available to Spotify users in the UK, US, Germany and Sweden.

According to Bloomberg, Spotify’s second act will primarily revolve around video and it cited Spotify’s content partnerships chief Tom Calderone as saying the idea is to get users to stick around for something other than playlists.

Spotify’s difficult second act

One of the first shows to emerge will be a documentary series entitled Landmark, which will tell the story of key moments in music history. Two have been made so far, one focusing on the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds and another on the band Metallica.

Rush Hour will focus on hip-hop dance acts battling against time to perform a music collaboration before a crowd. A pilot was shot at the SXSW Music Festival.

Spotify’s move comes at an interesting time. Apple is understood to be revamping Apple Music after less than a year to boost user engagement, while YouTube is dabbling with 360-degree video and spatial audio.

Spotify, which in January acquired Dublin music discovery start-up Soundwave for an undisclosed sum, recently raised debt of $1bn conditionally tied to an eventual IPO.

Tim Robbins image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years