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Spotify is dabbling in online learning

Cannonballing into a pretty crowded pool.
Spotify is dabbling in online learning Credit: Spotify

Spotify is testing the waters of online learning, with video-based courses launched on the audio streaming platform today.

Available only in the UK for now, Spotify's video courses are the result of partnerships with educational platforms including Skillshare, BBC Maestro, PLAYvirtuoso, and Thinkific. The courses cover four areas of learning, described by Spotify as "make music, get creative, learn business, and healthy living."

A large chunk of Spotify's offered courses are fittingly music-related, with tutorials for music recording and production, songwriting, DJing, radio broadcasting, and specific genre courses including rap, grime, garage, drum and bass, house, and techno. But there are also courses geared toward a larger range of topics including startups and business, cooking, money, dancing, fitness, mindfulness, video production, and art techniques from watercolour painting to photography and graphic design.

The majority of Spotify's courses are geared toward music.
Credit: Spotify / Mashable screenshot

Both premium subscribers and free Spotify users will get two lessons per course for free, but will have to buy the rest — a similar move to Spotify's audiobook offering, which gives premium users 15 free listening hours per month, after which you can buy additional credit. Spotify's video courses will sit in the app's home and browse tabs, or you can find them on the platform's dedicated page.

It's a bold but not so surprising move for Spotify, following the company's fierce investment in podcasts and audiobooks (though Spotify gutted its podcast workforce last year). In a blog post announcing the feature, Spotify claims that "about half of Spotify Premium subscribers have engaged in education or self-help-themed podcasts." However, Spotify will have its work cut out here, as the online learning space is long established and heavily crowded — from edX to FutureLearn, Coursera to Khan Academy, online courses are big business.

Genre-specific courses are on offer.
Credit: Spotify / Mashable screenshot

“Testing video courses in the UK allows us to explore an exciting opportunity to better serve the needs of our users who have an active interest in learning,” said Babar Zafar, Spotify's VP product development said in a press statement.

“Many of our users engage with podcasts and audiobooks on a daily basis for their learning needs, and we believe this highly engaged community will be interested in accessing and purchasing quality content from video course creators. At Spotify, we’re constantly striving to create new offerings for our creators and users, and having built best-in-class personalized music and podcast offerings, we look forward to exploring the potential of video-based learning on Spotify.”

It's the latest feature Spotify's testing in the UK, with the company aiming to take a sweet chunk out of YouTube by adding full music videos. This feature is only available in 11 countries including the UK, Brazil, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Kenya, the Netherlands, Colombia, Poland, Philippines, and Sweden, with no plans yet for additional markets including the U.S.

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