Spotify Losing Ground In Streaming As Amazon Gains

Spotify Tehcnology SA (SPOT), the streaming music service that went public this past spring, is facing increased competition from Inc. (AMZN), Apple Inc. (AAPL) and Alphabet Inc.’s (GOOG) Google, all of which are embracing enhanced search and voice capabilities.

According to a report in TechCrunch, Spotify has been so focused on technology that creates personalized playlists for users that it dropped the ball on other key features including the ability to search for songs using voice commands and by specific lyrics. (See more: Spotify to Rise 15% as it Monetizes Ads: Barclays.)

Lyric Search Doesn’t Appear To Be Top Priority

The report pointed to Apple as one example. When the Cupertino, California-based iPhone maker launches an updated iOS 12 this fall users will be able to search for music by lyrics as well as via artist, album or song name, according to the report. Meanwhile, Amazon, which already offers search capability, has integrated Alexa, its voice-activated digital assistant into is music streaming service enabling customers to tell an Alexa enabled device to play a song based on lyrics. TechCrunch noted search via lyrics by voice command has become a standard feature at Amazon. Even Google, which is behind Spotify, Amazon, and Apple in music streaming enables users to search by lyrics via its Google Assistant voice-activated speaker.

Spotify does offer the ability but only in Japan. TechCrunch reported the company won’t provide a timeline as to when it will expand the feature to other markets. It did note that in Spotify’s code there are references to trials of lyric searches in Thailand and Vietnam.  The tests started at the beginning of 2018 but don’t appear to be a top priority since the company isn’t measuring user engagement, reported TechCrunch, noting Spotify Chief Executive Daniel Ek didn’t even know the tests were ongoing. That implies top management at the streaming music services isn’t focused on lyric search. A stark difference: Amazon and Apple have teams dedicated to lyric searchers, reported TechCrunch.

Spotify Late With Voice Search

As for search via voice commands,  Spotify was late on that front only beginning to test voice search in the spring. It's now available for mobile users of Spotify Premium. Because music listeners have to press a button on the app before making the voice command it doesn’t achieve hands-free search which is the primary reason why people want to use voice commands to begin with.  On top of all that Amazon and Apple have another advantage over Spotify. They both have devices to play the streaming music on. With demand for voice assistance increasing, Spotify could give up some of the market to the big tech players like Amazon and Apple that have it all, according to TechCrunch. While Spotify remains the leader in streaming, its rivals are chipping away at its dominance. (See more: Apple Music Snags US Market Share From Spotify.)  In early July, Apple Music had between 21 million and 21.5 million subscribers compared to Spotify’s 22 million to 22.5 million. Last year Spotify had 17 million subscribers compared to 13 million at Apple.

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