Podcasters targeting children will soon have a new outlet to reach young listeners and their parents. Spotify has begun rolling out a new, standalone app called Spotify Kids that will feature ad-free content, music and podcasts specifically geared for kids and families. Spotify Kids will be available exclusively for Premium Family subscribers and intended for kids aged three and older.
“Spotify Kids was born out of the desire to create a playground of sound just for kids—to build a place where younger kids can explore their favorite music and stories in a fun environment,” said Alex Norström, Spotify’s Chief Premium Business Officer. “The content is ad-free and hand-picked by a team of editors, and the experience is bursting with color.” That’s not only figurative, but literal. Spotify says the visuals on the app will guide young users with simple navigation and scaled-back text. Before setting out to explore, each kid can also select a custom avatar and color theme to personalize their experience.
“Beyond the content, the entire Spotify Kids user experience looks and feels different from the Spotify app. And that’s intentional,” Norström explained. “It’s built for kids, with their specific cognitive skills in mind, and exudes a fun, familiar, playful, and bright atmosphere. This look and feel also varies by age group—for example, the artwork for younger kids is softer and character-based, while content for older kids is more realistic and detailed.”
Spotify will enter a space that already sees apps like the four-year old iHeartRadio Family music app and Pinna’s kid-focused podcast service. Pinna relaunched in January as a stand-alone entity backed by Graham Holdings with kids 3 to 12 in its sights. “We have had a very positive response in the market and we have only seen a steep incline in subscriber growth and content consumption week-over-week, month-over-month,” CEO Maggie McGuire told Podcast News Daily in a recent Q&A. Like Spotify, Pinna doesn’t run advertising but instead relies on a $8 per month subscription model.
Spotify Kids will initially include playlists that are designed to make it easy for kids to find music and stories from their favorite movies and TV shows. They’ll also be able to find a playlist geared toward to their favorite activity—or their least favorite chore. “We’ll also bring our audio expertise to the table with listening experiences that go beyond music—like more stories and audiobooks and eventually podcasts,” said Norström.
The company won’t rely on an algorithm to select programming but instead rely on a team of editors to curate the content. It has recruited veterans of several children-focused brands including Nickelodeon, Disney, Discovery Kids, and Universal Pictures, as well as Public Service in Sweden and BookBeat, which is a family- and kids-oriented audio streaming service.
Spotify Kids has beta-launched in Ireland and will eventually be introduced in the U.S. and other countries. The company said in a blog post that it is continuing to work on enhanced parental settings and controls that will give moms and dads the ability to further customize the app. “Kids consuming audio content, such as music and stories, isn’t a new phenomenon—in fact, they love it. But most audio experiences were built with adults in mind—meaning they’re not simple, easy, or fun for young kids to use,” said Norström.