Spotify introduces long-awaited Kids app with parental controls

Spotify Kids: features range of parental controls
Spotify Kids: features range of parental controls

Ad-free app is available to current Spotify Premium Family subscribers and launches in UK today.

Spotify has revealed details of its long-awaited Spotify Kids app that is designed particularly for children aged between three and 13.

The advertising-free app is available to current Spotify Premium Family subscribers and launches in beta form in the UK today to coincide with Childnet International’s Safer Internet Day (11 February). It will eventually roll out to all markets where people can buy a family subscription.

Spotify said it is trying to launch carefully into a kids’ content market, explaining why the app is being launched in beta first. The company will expand Spotify Kids over time as it incorporates best practices and learnings, as well as receive feedback from parents and caregivers. 

Parents had been complaining for several years that, despite offering "family plans", Spotify did not give adults the tools to protect their children from explicit content. The Swedish audio giant acknowledged the value of this feature in 2018, despite a petition calling for parental controls having started as far back as 2012. Spotify was founded in 2008.

The move also enables Spotify to separate the behavioural data it can collect from adult users and child users who may be using their parents’ account. 

Spotify Kids features singalongs, soundtracks and audiobook-style stories that can be discovered in a similar fashion to the main Spotify app. However, all of the content is handpicked by a team of editors instead of using algorithms to create automated search lists. There are also parental controls in place, such as allowing parents to select content that is more appropriate for younger or older children.

The initial roll-out includes about 6,000 tracks and 130 playlists in the UK, with artists selected especially for their popularity with children in this market, including Little Mix, Rastamouse, George Ezra, Take That and Busted. 

Spotify’s chief premium business officer, Alex Norstrom, said: "Spotify is committed to giving billions of fans the opportunity to enjoy and be inspired by music and stories, and we’re proud that this commitment now includes the next generation of audio listeners.

"Spotify Kids is a personalised world bursting with sound, shape and colour, where our young listeners can begin a lifelong love of music and stories."

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