For a glimpse into the future of video on Spotify, spend five minutes with 2 Chainz as he dons a surgical gown, mask and booties and joins “Dr. Miami” in the operating room to watch the plastic surgeon perform a Brazilian butt-lift. As his expression veers from amusement to nausea, the hook of the rapper’s “Birthday Song” is audible from the surgical suite: "All I want for my birthday is a big booty ho."
Spotify has been peppering its influential playlist Rap Caviar with such clips to test its latest video strategy, which so far has helped the playlist earn 7 million followers and launch its own six-city concert series. At the same time, Spotify is leaning on outside partners to help cater to video-hungry fans with a new $5-per-month deal for students that bundles Spotify’s premium services with Hulu -- a $13 discount.
The one-two punch could help Spotify compete with its smaller but deeper-pocketed rival Apple Music, which has taken a starkly different approach to video, snapping up artist documentaries for up to millions of dollars apiece to stream exclusively for its 27 million subscribers while rolling out celebrity-studded shows such as James Corden's Carpool Karaoke and Planet of the Apps, in which developers pitch their app ideas to a panel of judges that include Gwyneth Paltrow, Jessica Alba and will.i.am. Apple Music is expected to spend $1 billion on original content next year, while Amazon is spending even more through its Amazon Studios as it grows its own pair of music services, Prime Music and Amazon Music Unlimited.