Based on a job listing on Spotify’s website that says the world’s top pay music streaming service wants to build “a category defining product akin to Pebble Watch, Amazon Echo, and Snap Spectacles” that will “affect the way the world experiences music and talk content,” speculations are flying about the company entering the smart wearables market.
The listing was first spotted by Dave Zatz’s Zatz Not Funny, and is for a Sr. Product Manager – Hardware. There are also listings for Product Manager – Voice and Director of Product, Natural Language Understanding, or NLU.
On a side note, NLU is one of the technologies that powers Amazon Alexa on Amazon Echo devices, which has recently been thrown open to third party device manufacturers to integrate into their hardware products.
So, it appears that Spotify might actually be trying to enter the hardware space on the strength of its top positioning in the streaming music market. With over 40 million paying subscribers, Spotify certainly has the market potential for such smart hardware like smart watches, smart speakers and other connected devices that make up the Internet of Things.
What is clear from their job listings is that they want to develop a revolutionary smart product that is voice-interactive and can complement their strength in streaming music. It’s a direction similar to what Snap Inc. has been taking of late with its Spectacles product, a pair of sunglasses that captures short video clips and relay them to the Snapchat app for sharing.
So, what kind of product could they be thinking of? Obviously, they’ll want something that can stream music from Spotify and possibly be controlled by the user’s voice.
But such technology already exists.
You can tell Siri on your Apple Watch series 2 to play music from your Apple Music account, for example. Of course, you’ll need your iPhone handy when you do that, so maybe Spotify could develop a smart watch that you can sideload playlists to from your smartphone and then go untethered with your favorite tracks.
Or perhaps wireless smart earphones with voice activation that carry their own music from your Spotify collections? AirPods can do that but, again, the music has to be streamed via another Apple device.
On the other hand, it’s far too early for such speculation. Even the job listing requires the candidate to “define the product requirements”, which means they really have nothing at this point.
However, to their advantage, Spotify does have a lot of experience through their third-party hardware ecosystem, which includes big names like Sonos, ASUS, Amazon Echo, Bang & Olufsen, BMW, Jaguar, harman / kardon, Bose, Google Home, Ford and tons of others.
One thing is certain: Spotify has a solid platform to build on, and they can easily generate interest in a smart product that really brings innovation to the table.