Last week, we reported that Apple had added fuel to the fire in the war between the digital streaming providers. With the release of their smart home speaker ‘HomePod’, Apple enforced restrictions on the user experience for Spotify subscribers. Whilst HomePod offers a seamless Bluetooth 5.0 connection and service when linked to Apple Music, Spotify users must stream via AirPlay. Ultimately, taking away much of the HomePod magic, the integrated voice-assistant will only respond to play and pause commands. With this considered, we hypothesised that hardware could become the new battleground for the streaming providers.
A few days on, it would seem that Spotify are already developing hardware products and beginning to plan the manufacturing process. This week the Swedish streaming giant have opened applications for further roles (spotted by MusicAlly), suggesting that they are in fact set to release a product.
Spotify is on its way to creating its first physical products and setting up an operational organisation for manufacturing, supply chain, sales & marketing
This is the introduction to an Operations Manager posting on the Spotify Jobs page. The new recruit to the Spotify team will build and manage the distribution, supply chain and logistics structure in Spotify’s first steps to releasing a hardware product.
Whilst Apple opted to be incompatible, Spotify have relied on third-party companies to make voice-assisted and speaker streaming a possibility for its users. It’s Spotify Connect feature has allowed direct streaming via Amazon’s Echo, Sony’s PS4, and BMW 7 series cars. It is also important to remember that this is not a two horse race. Since the release of Alexa, Amazon Music subscriptions have also been rising.
Whilst a speaker is the expected product to be launched, there is no indication of whether it will have voice-assisted technology integrated. With no such tech at their disposal, will they develop their own, license in developed tech or not include it at all?
With many industry specialists criticising Apple for the absence of Spotify functionality on the HomePod, regardless of its integrated functionalities, a Spotify Speaker would be an exciting progression in the Apple Music V Spotify battle, with hardware playing a crucial role in the subscription race.