Spotify job ad confirms it’s getting serious about building hardware

Spotify is getting serious about entering the hardware realm.

The Swedish music-streaming giant, which is currently preparing to become a public company, has posted a trio of hardware-focused job advertisements on its website, as first reported by the Guardian earlier today.

The most revealing of the job ads is the position of Operations Manager – Hardware Product, which states unambiguously that:

Spotify is on its way to creating its first physical products and setting up an operational organisation for manufacturing, supply chain, sales & marketing.

The two other roles, Project Manager Hardware Production & Engineering and Senior Project Manager Hardware Production, are less explicit about the full nature of the roles. Indeed, Spotify already integrates with many third-party hardware makers, so it’s possible that these roles could be focused on such integrations. But it’s more likely that all three roles are linked.

Spotify has actually advertised for hardware recruits before — last year it listed a position for Sr. Product Manager-Hardware, which said:

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.

The most likely device that Spotify will be working toward is, of course, a smart speaker. This will raise further questions around which voice assistant the company will use — will it license Alexa or Google Home? Spotify could build its own AI assistant from scratch too, but that would be a costly and resource-intensive endeavor.

Other potential hardware options could be something like a Spotify mp3 player that would appeal to runners or anyone who likes to travel without a bulky smartphone on their person. There are similar devices out there already from third-parties such as Mighty.

So we don’t know a great deal about Spotify’s hardware aspirations. But we do know it’s looking to hire at least one person who will “define and drive the hardware operations process within Spotify” and “define and manage distribution, supply, logistics, fulfillment and customer service for hardware products.”

Spotify’s hardware plans still seem pretty early stage, so it’s unlikely we’ll see anything emerge this year.