Spotify Developing iOS 14 Widgets in Latest Beta

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One of the big new features of iOS 14 is Home Screen widgets, which provide information from apps at a glance. The ‌widgets‌ can be pinned to the ‌Home Screen‌ in various spots and sizes, allowing for many different layouts.

Image credit: Reddit user AustinMauritz

Many third-party apps have released ‌widgets‌, and now evidence that Spotify is developing its own official widget has appeared in a TestFlight beta.

The widget is currently available in small and medium sizes, with the former designed to display the artwork of the last played artist, song, or album, while the latter size shows four of the same content elements.

Unfortunately there are no play, pause, or next song buttons, since Apple only allows ‌widgets‌ to present read-only information, with interactive elements such as scrolling elements or switches not allowed, presumably due to battery life considerations.

Image credit: Reddit user Lupolo

Instead, both ‌widgets‌ include the text “Listen to Music and Podcasts,” and tapping the widget opens the Spotify app. Based on user reports on Reddit, the Spotify ‌widgets‌ don’t yet display album artwork, but the fact that they exist at all proves that Spotify is working on them.

Last month, we reported that Spotify is testing dedicated support for direct audio streaming to Apple Watch without being connected to ‌iPhone‌.

There’s no indication that the appearance of the beta feature is tied to a particular version of watchOS or iOS, but hopefully it won’t be long before the ability to stream Spotify from the wrist will be available to all subscribers.

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Spotify is leaning on influencers to win the podcasting wars

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Spotify has made its intentions clear: It wants to be the largest audio platform in the world—not just music, audio.

Exclusive podcast partnerships have been a significant part of that effort, and while deals with the likes of the Obamas and Joe Rogan have received most of the attention (and controversy), less celebrated but no less important are Spotify’s wooing of influencers to podcast and to do so using Spotify’s tools and distribution.

“In order for us to continue our growth and our trajectory, we knew we wanted to broaden out what being an audio network really means,” said Dawn Ostroff, Spotify’s chief content officer, at Fast Company’s 6th annual Innovation Festival. “And podcasting, which is the fastest growing medium right now particularly among young people, was the natural next step.”

Over the past several months, Spotify has struck deals with influencers, including Rickey Thompson, Denzel Dion, Addison Rae, and Lele Pons. For Spotify and its podcast listeners (median age: 26 years old), leaning on the massive audiences of influencers is a way to tap directly into the Gen Z market and cut their entertainment clutter.

“It’s hard to capture the attention of this youth generation,” Ostroff said. “Everything is on demand, so they can get everything anytime they want. And being able to stand out in that crowd and have an audience and have people want to either see or hear any particular person is a Herculean task these days.”

And for the influencers, signing deals with Spotify gives them the backing of a major platform to find new ways to connect with their audiences.

“[I wanted people to] get a glimpse into the other side of my life that people don’t hear about or see,” says Rae, who hosts the Spotify podcast Mama Knows Best with her mother.

Spotify and Snap Get Upgrades From Guggenheim

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Internet companies appear to be undervalued, according to a Guggenheim analyst, who on Monday upgraded Snap  (SNAP) – Get Report to buy from neutral and Spotify Technology  (SPOT) – Get Report to neutral from sell. 

Snap, parent company of Snapchat, was climbing 3.9% to $25.62 at last check, while audio streaming services company Spotify was advancing 1.1% to $238.53.

Guggenheim analyst Michael Morris raised his price target for the stock of both companies, increasing Snap to $28 from $22, while boosting Spotify to $250 from $232.

Morris said in a note to investors that he had revised his valuation framework for digital media companies to better reflect what he believes to be greater similarities between internet and software companies, according to The Fly.

This includes core investment in R&D and engineering resources and the creation of high-utility technology platforms.

Morris said he believes that at the core, internet companies are software development and distribution companies that largely focus on consumer rather than enterprise applications and he expects investors will continue to evolve their view to reflect this, which will drive incremental appreciation for internet stocks.

The analyst said that “investors in general underestimate the long-term advertising market growth potential,” as well as “the sustained revenue and profit growth potential” of internet stocks.”

In addition to Spotify and Snap, Morris also raised his price targets on such internet marquee names Facebook  (FB) – Get Report, Google parent Alphabet  (GOOGL) – Get Report, Roku  (ROKU) – Get Report, Netflix  (NFLX) – Get Report and Twitter  (TWTR) – Get Report.

Guggenheim also started coverage of Pinterest  (PINS) – Get Report with a buy rating and a share price target of $48.