Clues suggest Spotify is getting into hardware

Spotify may be making moves based on a little principle called vertical integration.
Image: Chesnot/Getty Images

The smart speaker race has intensified since Apple threw its hat in the ring with HomePod, but a new competitor may be entering the fray — and it could be a game-changer.

Based on a series of job postings, it appears Spotify is making its own smart speaker.

“Spotify is on its way to creating its first physical products and setting up an operational organization for manufacturing, supply chain, sales & marketing,” reads a job description for an Operations Manager: Hardware Product on Spotify’s recruitment page. Spotify posted the job on Tuesday, according to The Guardian.

Postings for a Senior Project Manager: Hardware Production and Project Manager: Hardware Production and Engineering are also currently posted to the site. Both team members would “contribute in the creation of innovative Spotify experiences via connected hardware.” 

One of the new job listings that indicate Spotify’s move into hardware.

Image: spotify

As for what kind of hardware, previous postings lend evidence to the idea that Spotify is making a smart speaker. In April 2017, a listing appeared for a Senior Product Manager: Hardware and Product Manager: Voice. According to the blog Zatz Not Funny, the former role stated that “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.”

When contacted, Spotify didn’t confirm any plans for hardware or software development. And as anyone who’s worked within a bureaucracy knows, job postings can and do reflect strategic whims that may never come to fruition — roles that may never be filled.

But considering Apple Music’s aggressive growth in paid memberships, and the HomePod’s inability to integrate with Spotify, introducing hardware makes sense for Spotify; it’s not safe for Spotify to rely on hardware delivery from a direct competitor.

Still, there’s no guarantee that Spotify hardware means a smart speaker. But for Spotify devotees, that would certainly be something to get excited about.

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