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Spotify’s mysterious ‘news’ could be video streaming

Spotify Founder and CEO Daniel Ek.Spotify Founder and CEO Daniel Ek.
Spotify Founder and CEO Daniel Ek.Charles Eshelman/Getty Images for Spotify

Swedish music-streaming service Spotify recently sent out a titillating invitation to an upcoming event: “We’ve got some news,” the company wrote.

The Financial Times, citing people with knowledge of the matter, reports the company will announce that it plans to launch a video-streaming service. That seems to confirm a report earlier this month by The Wall Street Journal that presaged much the same. (Spotify did not respond in time to Fortune’s requests for comment.)


The (presumed) launch event will take place in New York on Wed., May 20—just a few weeks before soon-to-be rival Apple (AAPL) is expected to launch its Beats music-streaming service at its worldwide developers conference on June 8. (Scooped!)

Unlike past rumors that a video entrée for Spotify would be designed to take on stalwarts of the category, such as HBO and Netflix (NFLX), the new service intends to compliment the company’s main business: music-streaming, reports the Financial Times.

The news comes as a wave of interest in video has struck media companies of all sorts. Facebook (FB) has been staunchly pushing its video business of late. There are a slew of media companies placing big bets on the future of video, as Fortune’s Erin Griffith deftly details in her recent longform feature “The (very) big fight for the small screen.” Even forum-site Reddit has just launched a video unit.

Fortune, too, has gotten in on the video-streaming game (don’t forget to tune in to Fortune Live on Friday afternoons at 3 p.m. ET!). In fact, The Wall Street Journal has reported that Fortune’s parent Time Inc (TIME) is in talks with Spotify about video, although this author has not been able to confirm that report.

Competition in the music-streaming space has been heating up recently, too, and a video offering is one way that Spotify may be able to differentiate itself from the pack. The company has also experienced a backlash from some of its peers for its so-called freemium model, which offers listeners two tiers: one ad-supported and free, and the other ad-free and subscription-supported. Apple has reportedly been urging record labels to ditch Spotify’s free tier. And hip-hop artist Jay-Z recently re-launched the subscription-only Tidal, another Swedish music-streaming service, after buying its parent company Aspiro for $56 million.

Spotify is currently the music-streaming market leader with 60 million active users and 15 million paid subscribers. It also is reportedly gearing up for an IPO, having hired Goldman Sachs (GS) to raise half a billion dollars, which could place it at an $8 billion valuation.