Spotify’s ‘Launch In To Video’… Isn’t; It’s Just More Free-Paid Push-Pull

After months of offering advance releases, exclusives and competition prizes as inducements to premium subscribers, Spotify is now doing the opposite. Sort of.

The music service is making a song and dance about an “exclusive” new Jimi Hendrix video – it’s first ever video foray – that’s only available to its free users.

Spotify announced its pleasure at bagging a “world exclusive” on the video – but Twitter filled up with depressed onlookers, perceiving Spotify has launched a new video service, scratching their heads that they couldn’t see it.

But Tweeters, chillax – the video, which appears on the Home page for free Spotify users, is a one-off paid ad placement by Sony (NYSE: SNE) Music for the forthcoming new Hendrix album, Valleys Of Neptune – and paying customers don’t see ads.

What’s more, premium customers will get an exclusive five-day window on the album when it drops on March 4. In this sense, the free video drives sign-ups to the paid service.

Just as now has animated ad spots, a video is a perfectly acceptable ad format for Spotify to try as it looks for as many income sources as possible, and as it tries to juice various configurations of free-paid synergy.

In a backward way, the grumbles may be an encouraging sign – everyone complaining they are blocked out is actually a premium subscriber. It riled a small number of paying customers nonetheless…

The takeaway – one man’s promo is another’s exclusive piece of content.

Nor does the Hendrix vid signal a full-scale expansion in to music video. Spotify isn’t ruling a future video upgrade in or out at this point – it knows it’s far too young a company to be committing to taking on the likes of Vevo for that segment at this early stage.