Spotify has made its latest move in its battle with Apple, striking a partnership with the latter company’s fiercest rival in the smartphone space: Samsung.
Spotify is now the “go-to music service provider” for Samsung, across its various devices, from smartphones and TVs to smart speakers.
“Users can get excited about Spotify becoming part of the set-up experience on a Samsung device from the very beginning,” said Spotify CEO Daniel Ek in a Q&A published on Spotify’s website as the deal was announced.
“For example, when someone buys a phone, the user can easily discover the Spotify app on Samsung Smart Switch. And soon, Samsung Smart TV users will be able to play Spotify through the SmartThings app.”
“It’s a new level of integration that will allow Spotify to be easily accessible and discoverable on Samsung Devices. As you move from room to room, your devices will be aware of your location and prompt you to effortlessly transition your listening between them.”
Just as appealingly for Spotify, Samsung’s voice assistant Bixby – its equivalent of Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri – is part of this deal. Spotify will be its lead streaming service.
“When a user asks Bixby for music, Bixby will look to Spotify –even if that user has never used Spotify before,” said Ek. At a time when Spotify is extremely concerned about ‘fair access’ to the speakers and assistants of Amazon, Google and Apple, the Samsung deal is a positive note – even if Bixby is, for now, at a much earlier stage in its rollout than those other services (and Samsung’s own smart speaker has yet to debut commercially).
On smartphones alone, though, the deal is a big opportunity for Spotify. In the second quarter of 2018 alone, Samsung shipped 71.5m smartphones, comfortably retaining first place in the manufacturers league table ahead of Huawei (54.2m) and Apple (41.3m).
(That said, not every smartphone sold by Samsung will be a route to people’s pockets for Spotify. Watch what happens when telcos have their own music-streaming partnerships: for example, if Verizon sells someone a Samsung smartphone, the telco’s deal with Apple Music will surely take precedence.)
Today’s news could be seen as a slap in the chops for Google, it’s worth noting. In April 2017, it proudly announced a deal for Google Play Music to be “the default music player and music service on new Samsung phones and tablets globally”. Clearly that deal isn’t carrying across to the new YouTube Music service.
Previously, Samsung had run its own music-streaming services, Samsung Music Hub (which closed in July 2014) and Milk Music (which closed in August 2016).