Spotify Acquires Two Startups -- So Expect Its Social Features to Improve

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A woman walks through a hallway at Spotify offices following a press conference in New York City.

Spotify continues to build out its industry-leading music platform, announcing the acquisition of two startups, the voice-play focused Cord Project and Soundwave, an Irish music-focused social startup. Terms of the acquisitions were not disclosed.

Spotify's social features have long been entry-level, letting users see what their friends are listening to and allowing them to post songs and playlists to various social media platforms. That simply isn't enough these days.

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With Soundwave, Spotify will be able to offer a more engaging social play to the platform, with group chats based around playlists and song-based messaging. Cord is more of a moving target; the startup developed several apps for audio socializing, such as the dead-simple Shhout! and Chhirp, both ways for sharing brief audio snippets with large groups of people. As they put it: "Cord Projects are an ongoing series of experiments meant to explore short voice messaging and how it intersects with the latest technology and trends."

"The acquisitions of both Cord Project and Soundwave give us the opportunity to bring two extremely talented and like-minded teams into the Spotify family," says Shiva Rajaraman, Spotify's vp of product, in a statement. 

All streaming services can expect to have an exceedingly competitive year (in the wake of streaming volume doubling). Subscriptions will become near-requirements for fans, as well as Pandora and SoundCloud's impending entry into the subscription market. Expect windowing and subscriber-only listens to become the norm.

Spotify's last major acquisition was Seed Scientific, a data analytics firm which previously worked with Beats, now Apple, Music.

In a blog post in early December, Soundwave's Chief Technology Officer wrote of corporate culture: "Don't look for people to fit your culture, look for people that embrace and help set and improve your culture."

Soundwave, meet Cord.