Spotify this morning is announcing a change to its service designed to appeal to families with small children: it’s relaunching the app’s Kids category to include new playlists focused on vocabulary and language-development activities, as well as voiceover prompts in between songs that encourage parents to interact with their children while listening to music together.
The company notes that music, including singing with children from birth onwards, can help to promote early brain and language development, especially among ages 0 to 3. With this in mind, Spotify has relaunched its “Kids and Family” section to focus in particular on this age group.
The new Kids playlists are designed around everyday activities, like bedtime, bath time, or traveling in the car, for example. But what makes them different from the other curated playlists you would find on Spotify’s service is that there are breaks in between songs where parents will hear a voice prompt or conversation starter of some sort that encourages them to interact with their child.
For example, a prompt might ask “What should be our next song?,” and then suggest that parent and child choose a song together that’s slow and calming before bedtime. Another prompt may encourage parents to make up a silly dance with their kids, or ask children to jump, clap, wiggle and stomp to the beat. Another might suggest the parent talk back and forth with the child, responding to their babbling sounds – the first steps in having a conversation.
These voiceovers are narrated by a number of celebrities, including Fantasia, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Wiz Khalifa, Tyler Perry, Juanes, Diego Torres, Frankie J, Laurie Berkner, Busy Philipps and Ashley Williams, the company says.
The playlists themselves are fairly diverse in terms of content, too. Some include “evergreen” songs that parents may remember from their own childhoods, while others are come from those popular on Spotify today with other listeners, as well as those that are popular with families, not just small children.
Voiceovers and playlists are available in English and Spanish.
Spotify says it developed the new features designed to boost early brain and language development based on research provided by Too Small to Fail, a joint initiative of The Clinton Foundation and The Opportunity Institute, along with Vroom, an initiative of the Bezos Family Foundation. The latter provided the brain-building tips and activities. These organizations are credited in the playlist info, when they were involved.
In addition, Spotify is now working with several other organizations to continue building out its themed playlists in this kids genre, including Univision, the GRAMMY Museum, VH1 Save the Music Foundation, Fatherly, The Bump, Carnegie Hall, Gerber and ZERO TO THREE.
The company is also tying the Kids category relaunch to its second-ever “social good” initiative, which will see it teaming up with the Family Independence Initiative to collect program feedback from families in its network, then award grants to those who want to host singing and music activities.
The move to revamp the Kids and Family section follows a number of other tweaks and new features that have arrived on the service in recent days, as a part of Spotify’s effort to appeal to a broader user base.
This month, for example, the company launched its first original videos, as well as a new gaming section offering soundtracks of game scores and other playlists. With the revamped Kids section, however, Spotify is challenging Apple Music more directly, as it goes beyond offering fun family-friendly playlists like Apple’s “Frozen Radio” or “Lullabies,” to include these early childhood learning activities, too.
The new Kids and Family section is available now at spotify.com/sing.