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Beatport Will Bring Videos, Curated Playlists to Spotify

Streaming giant Spotify and Beatport, the dance music portal founded in 2004 and acquired by Robert Sillerman's dance music empire SFX two-and-a-half years ago for "slightly more" than $50 million, are teaming up.

The partnership teams two ostensible rivals -- a long-established download store which has transitioned into a streaming service and the world's largest on-demand music service -- giving an immediate boost to the reach of one and a useful credibility to the other.

"We're very excited to be the first streaming service to partner with Spotify," Beatport's brand-new CEO Greg Consiglio, who has worked for AOL and Ticketmaster, tells Billboard. "We have a unique perspective on what's trending, which new artists are breaking. We're taking that expertise to Spotify -- we'll be curating unique weekly playlists that really only Beatport can do. It's a really interesting opportunity for us to be looked at by Spotify, where they have a lot of electronic music, but they don't have the same expertise that we do."

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The partnership is the first major content announcement from Spotify since the May 20 unveiling of its "new direction," which emphasized the growing role of video on the platform, an aspect of this new deal that both companies touted in our conversations.

"We're not just in the streaming or download business, but heavily focused on video," Consiglio says. "There's an awful lot of behind-the-scenes, very interesting footage that happens at [SFX-owned festivals including TomorrowWorld, Rock In Rio, Electric Zoo and Mysteryland, among others]. Original content that we're now starting to shoot that captures the essence of what's going on in electronic music."

"They bring some interesting and unique content opportunities to the table," Spotify's Sachin Doshi, vp of content and distribution, tells Billboard. "Maybe more importantly, great video content."

The move also dovetails with a shift in the packaging of music streaming, partly spurred on by the success -- still anecdotal, perhaps -- of Apple's Beats 1 radio station. Giving listeners access to tens of millions of songs is important, sure, but so is serving listeners what they want to hear, whether they know it or not. 

"When you think of where the streaming market has moved over the past 6-9 months," Consiglio says, "it's a curated and playlist market. Our service is heavily curated, by people in our company -- in our Denver and Berlin and L.A. offices -- who have label relationships and artist relationships. We have a unique perspective on what's trending."

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For Spotify, Doshi tells Billboard the May 20 event was about showing customers how it intends to address the curation challenge, "and rethink the way a music service should address that challenge. You'll see more of that, with the strengthening of our editorial staff, and algorithm-driven opportunities like Discover Weekly [the custom playlist function the company introduced this past Monday, July 20]. We're mixing it all together to create this perfect experience for our users."

According to Consiglio, the partnership is the first aspect of an ambitious year for Beatport. "We look at Beatport as a way to get people who may not even recognize themselves as electronic music fans. People look at SFX or Beatport and just see EDM, but we know there's a variety of genres below EDM, and we're in a unique position to promote those genres. This isn't a fad."