Spotify unveils HiFi feature, Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen podcast, and more at Stream On event

Spotify unveils HiFi feature, Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen podcast, and more at Stream On event

Spotify is showing no signs of slowing down even as it turns 15 this year. 

At its Stream On virtual event on 22 February, the Swedish audio streaming giant announced its plans to continue expanding and making its content accessible to more audiences around the world. Currently, Spotify is on track to be launched in over 85 new markets, including countries in Asia, Africa, Europe, the Caribbean, and Latin America, a move that will extend its reach to 1 billion more potential users and introduce 36 new languages to its platform. 

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As it grows, Spotify will continue to revolutionise the audio streaming experience by enhancing existing features and introducing innovative new ones for both listeners and creators. It will also be engaging in several cross-industry collaborations to deliver fresh and exciting content to its 345 million monthly users.

Spotify's founder and CEO, Daniel Ek said: "A more connected, more engaged community of listeners creates more demand... and more opportunities for artists and podcasters to make a living from their work. And the more people who are creating, the more there is for our users to discover. It’s a virtuous cycle: a flywheel, and it’s propelling Spotify and the audio industry forward."

"Over the past decade and a half, what we’ve seen—and helped drive—is an audio renaissance," added Ek.

Here are the key announcements from Spotify's Stream On event.


MUSIC


SPOTIFY HIFI

To give users the best experience possible, Spotify will be giving its Premium subscribers the option to listen to music the way that it was intended to be heard. Titled "Spotify HiFi", this new feature will allow listeners to stream music in CD-quality and lossless audio formats on their selected devices. Spotify HiFi will also be compatible with Spotify-Connect-Enabled speakers. This feature will be available for Premium subscribers in select countries later this year.


CREATOR TOOLS

Canvas, a tool that lets creators create looping visuals to accompany their tracks, will be made available to all artists in the near future. Creators will also be able to utilise Spotify Clips, a feature which gives fans a peek at intimate moments from their favourite artists lives, in innovative new ways. Discovery Mode beta, which gives the teams of artists a say in Spotify's algorithmic suggestions, will be extended to more record labels. Additionally, creators in Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, and the UK will be able to use Marquee's sponsored recommendations to reach more listeners.


RADAR 

Launched early last year, RADAR is a programme by Spotify to support emerging artists and strengthen the connections between them and their listeners. Going forward, Spotify will be reaffirming its commitment to these artists by expanding RADAR. Artists that have benefitted from the RADAR programme include Joji, Rina Sawayama, SB19, When Chai Met Toast, and Mahen


PODCASTING


RENEGADES: BORN IN THE USA WITH BARACK OBAMA AND BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN

Spotify teamed up with former US President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama's production company, Higher Ground, to produce an eight-part podcast starring Obama and music icon Bruce Springsteen. In this insightful series, the duo will discuss a variety of topics, including fatherhood, marriage, race, and the future of America. The podcast's first two episodes are now available to stream on Spotify.


TELL THEM I AM

Helmed by Pakistani-American host Misha Euceph, this series by Barack and Michelle Obama's Higher Ground will give Muslim activists, artists, athletes, actors, and performers a platform to make their voices heard. Tell Them I Am will premiere on the first day of Ramadan this year.


PODCAST SERIES FROM DC COMICS AND WARNER BROS.

The joint-venture between Spotify, DC Comics and Warner Bros. will bring use the audio medium to bring characters and stories from the DC Universe to life. Batman Unburiedthe first title to be birthed from this collaboration is slated to be released later this year. Produced by David S. Goyer, who has worked on films such as The Dark Knight Rises, the series will offer a peek into the psyche of the Caped Crusader. 


PODCAST SERIES FROM THE RUSSO BROTHERS

Anthony and Joe Russo, who are best known for directing Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, will bring their storytelling prowess to Spotify in the near future. Through their entertainment company, AGBO, the duo have inked a multi-year, multi-series deal with the streaming platform.


PODCAST SERIES FROM AVA DUVERNAY 

Renowned filmmaker Ava DuVernay will produce scripted and unscripted audio content for Spotify through ARRAY, an arts and social impact collective that she founded to push for narrative change. DuVernay's first podcast will take the form of a series about police officers who have committed murder. 


ANCHOR + WORDPRESS COLLABORATION

The collaboration between Spotify's Anchor platform and WordPress will make it much easier for writers to convert their works into podcasts. It will also allow podcasters to seamlessly migrate their podcasts to their websites. 


NEW INTERACTIVITY FEATURES AND VIDEO PODCASTS

Podcasters will soon be able to leverage new features, such as Polls and Q&A, and video podcasts to keep their listeners engaged when they use Anchor. Through the latter, podcasters will be able to deliver unique audiovisual experiences in their shows.


SPOTIFY AUDIENCE NETWORK

Spotify Audience Network is an audio advertising marketplace that seeks to help advertisers connect with their respective audiences. Its Streaming Ad Inserstion (SAI) feature combines elements of traditional podcast advertising and modern-day digital marketing to bring useful insights to users. Additionally, the Spotify Ad Studio will make it easier for smaller audio advertisers to reach their audiences.