Monday, April 24, 2017

Spotify is developing its own hardware – inspired by Amazon’s Echo | Music Business Worldwide

Spotify is on a mission to launch its own music hardware – inspired by the likes of Amazon’s voice-activated Echo speaker.

The surprise news has been revealed in an online job listing from the streaming company for a Stockholm-based Senior Product Manager for Hardware.

In the ad, Spotify says it wants to create a “category-defining product akin to Pebble Watch, Amazon Echo, and Snap Spectacles”.

That’s not exactly a straightforward brief, considering these three devices are significantly different to one another.

Amazon’s Echo, as most in the music business will now know, is a voice-activated speaker (or speaker add-on, in the case of the Echo Dot), which is powered by Amazon’s AI assistant, Alexa.

The Snap Spectacles, meanwhile, are a pair of sunglasses that allow users to record 10 seconds of video which they can then easily share online.

They have been created by social networking giant Snap Inc – which IPO’d last month, and finished its first day of trading with a stock price 44% up on its opening level. (If ever there was a sentence to make Daniel Ek go weak at the knees…)

“You will be leading an initiative to deliver hardware directly from Spotify to existing and new customers; a category defining product akin to Pebble Watch, Amazon Echo, and Snap Spectacles.”

Perhaps the most bizarre of the three examples given in Spotify’s hardware ad is the Pebble Watch.

Widely categorized as the first commercially successful smartwatch, the Kickstarter-backed 3G Pebble product was a precursor to the Apple Watch.

It initially went on sale in 2013, but was eventually discontinued late last year.

What unites all three devices cited by Spotify: they were all technologically ahead of the curve in their respective fields.

As such, whatever Spotify comes up with on the hardware front would need to be genuinely innovative. Don’t expect a me-too phone or speaker to cut the mustard.

Whatever the company’s new recruit helps come up with, it will – according to the ad – involve “internet-connected hardware [and] the software that powers it”.

The successful candidate will be expected to “work with suppliers/manufacturers to deliver the optimal Spotify experience to millions of users”.

If it gets it right, the margins in electronic devices could be a good deal kinder than those in music licensing – a concept which would certainly please Daniel Ek and his investors.

Meanwhile, there’s another interesting job opening on Spotify’s site (as spotted by the Zatz Not Funny blog) for a Product Manager – Voice.

Drawing further parallels with Amazon’s Echo speaker, the ad reads: “As a Product Owner for voice you will be responsible for the strategy and execution of Spotify’s voice efforts beyond our core apps… You will be working closely with our User Interaction team and Product Managers for applicable platforms to ensure they are voice enabled in a consistent way to the benefit of our end users.

“You will also be working with the major external platform providers within the voice space to ensure a superior Spotify experience on those platforms.”

Spotify’s Senior Product Manager for Hardware job ad:

We are looking for a passionate and seasoned Senior Product Manager that will join the Platform & Partner Experience team working to build frictionless and creative Spotify experiences via fully-connected hardware devices. You will be leading an initiative to deliver hardware directly from Spotify to existing and new customers; a category defining product akin to Pebble Watch, Amazon Echo, and Snap Spectacles. You will define the product requirements for internet-connected hardware, the software that powers it, and work with suppliers/manufacturers to deliver the optimal Spotify experience to millions of users. Above all, your work will affect the way the world experiences music & talk content.

What you’ll do

  • Deeply understand Spotify’s mission and strategies, manage product vision for the cross-functional team, set qualitative objectives and quantitative goals.
  • Partner with hardware initiative program managers to build products that can become new Spotify business lines.
  • Drive product development with a team of world-class engineers and designers.
  • Work directly with suppliers and manufacturers to specify and ensure timely delivery of hardware that supports and integrates Spotify’s software stack.
  • Integrate exploratory user research, usability studies, and market analysis into product requirements to improve user satisfaction.
  • Define, monitor and analyze metrics for launched products and feed findings back into product development process.
  • Clearly communicate product plans, benefits and results, as appropriate, to a wide range of audiences, from internal partners to all Spotify employees.
  • Drive Spotify’s invention and innovation success from a hardware perspective.
  • Collaborate cross-functionally with other areas of the business, including business development, legal, comms, and marketing to ensure product releases maximise impact.
  • Manage end of product life cycle, whether decisions require reinvestment, transitioning to maintenance or product retirement.
  • Work from our office in Stockholm, Sweden.

Who you are

  • You have significant product management experience working closely with consumer hardware and software development operating at a global scale.
  • You have BA/BS degree in Psychology, Economics, Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, related technical field or equivalent practical experience.
  • You have a deep understanding of lean hardware development and working directly with hardware suppliers/manufacturers, hardware engineers, and industrial design.
  • You have excellent organizational and analytical abilities with strong technical understanding
  • You are experienced with agile methodology and data-informed product development
  • You lead with passion & conviction.
  • You have extraordinary communication and presentation abilities; storytelling; ability to speak fluently to business people, partners and engineers.
  • You have demonstrable experience managing and developing well-loved products – including defining product roadmaps and long-term plans.
  • You get stuff done! As demonstrated by working as a product manager in high performing teams that have built, deployed, and iterated-on mass-market hardware or software applications.
  • You have a confirmed ability to influence decision-making at all levels within an organisation, and in a variety of contexts.
  • You’re entrepreneurial and driven, but you’re also a gifted diplomat who can influence cross-functional teams without wielding formal authority.

We are proud to foster a workplace free from discrimination. We truly believe that diversity of experience, perspectives, and background will lead to a better environment for our employees and a better product for our users and our creators. This is something we value deeply and we encourage everyone to come be a part of changing the way the world listens to music.Music Business Worldwide


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