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More Videos on More Music Streaming Platforms: Spotify Now Has Its Own Video Catalogue

Following in the footsteps of Apple Music, Tidal, and basically almost everyone now.

Photo by KAL VISUALS / Unsplash

Spotify announced today that it’s rolling out full-length music videos on its platform. So far available only to select countries in beta, the feature can be found in the Now Playing view. And while some believe the era of music videos might be over owing to the TikToks' and Reels' dominance, it seems like music videos are very much alive and aren't actually going anywhere, partly thanks to a push from the streaming giants.

Are music videos dead in 2024, or is it too early to say goodbye to them? We're writing a piece on that, so hit Subscribe if you want to catch it.

Spotify introduces videos. Now what?

"We're excited to launch music videos in beta for Spotify Premium users across 11 markets, adding another way to enhance the artist-to-fan connection," shares Spotify in the press release. Those 11 markets are the UK, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, Brazil, Colombia, Philippines, Indonesia, and Kenya. It's funny that the US isn't part of the beta rollout. What else is funny is that Spotify is finally following in the footsteps of Apple Music, which added its own music video catalogue six years ago, as well as Tidal.

Credit: Spotify

"So many times in my own experience and for countless others, music videos play a key role in hooking you: taking you from being a listener to leaning in and becoming a fan," says Charlie Hellman, Vice President and Head of Music Product at Spotify in the official announcement. "They're an important part of so many artists' tool kits, and it's a natural fit for them to live in the same place that more than half a billion people choose to listen to music."

"You can even watch the music video in full screen by turning your mobile device to watch in landscape mode," Spotify says

According to Spotify, the beta version is rolling out with a "limited catalogue of music videos", including tracks from big stars like Ed Sheeran, Doja Cat, and Ice Spice, or "local favourites like Aluna and Asake." The catalogue is now limited, but as TechCrunch reports, more artists will be added as the functionality rolls out further.

To access the new Spotify videos, Premium subscribers from the 11 markets we told you above need to launch Spotify on iOS, Android, desktop, or TV device, and head over to the "Switch to Video" toggle. The music video will then start playing in the Now Playing view. To return to the background listening, they simply need to tap "Switch to Audio."

But this video feature (odd that it doesn't have a flashy name so far—it's just "videos") isn't the only video format that Spotify currently supports. It also has Canvas and Clips. Oh, and video podcasts.

Canvas, Clips, and now just videos—what's the difference?

Boomerang Instagram Story-ish short videos on Spotify are called Canvas. The streaming platform launched them in 2019 to "put [artists] and [their] music front-and-center" and "drive streams to music, not likes." These are short looping videos 3-8 seconds long that appear in the Now Playing view instead of the artist's album artwork as you're listening to a track.

Credit: Spotify

Artists can add the Canvas videos to all tracks; Spotify even provides tips and best practices for doing so in the right way and boasts that "adding a high-quality Canvas has increased track shares by up to 200 percent." Base for Music reports that tracks with Canvas are 145% more likely to be shared on social media, 5% of listeners are more likely to keep streaming a track, 20% of listeners are more likely to save the song to their playlist, and 9% of them are more likely to visit an artist page on Spotify.

Last year, Spotify announced Clips, yet another video format that is basically stories that don't vanish into thin air after 24 hours. Vertical Clips last a bit more than Canvas (up to 30 seconds long) and can be uploaded right through the Spotify for Artists page.

"Clips don’t go away in 24 hours, and you don’t have to constantly be creating new content to keep up and chase the latest trend."

Here's what Spotify says about Clips: "Unlike other short-form video platforms, Clips on Spotify are attached to artist profiles and can be attached to tracks and albums – putting your music at the center of the experience so viewers can easily listen after watching your videos. It gives you a way to inspire fandom and long-term success – not quick hits tied to the latest meme."

At first glance, it seems like artists are now making fewer music videos than they did, say, ten years ago. The dominance of short clips on social media is also a contributing factor, among others—if I can make tons of TikToks, why would I bother with hiring an entire production team and make an expensive music clip that might not even get as many views as I expect it to?

Besides, it's interesting timing Spotify has rolled out videos in, since TikTok now also caters to lenghty clips, even financially incentivising creators to make longer videos, which conveniently fits its latest rollout of  a 30-minute duration for clips.

Will this Spotify's feature revive the love of artists and viewers for music videos as it was in the early 2000s-2010s, despite all other major music streaming platforms have their own catalogues for years? Spotify is often a trendsetter, so we'll see soon enough.