Coming next year from Spotify: paid plugins for Backstage

Austin Lamon, Spotify
New Spotify plugins coming next year

TLDR: Next year, Spotify is going to start selling some new plugins we build for Backstage. We’re doubling down on Backstage with a sustainable business model as the cornerstone to our long-term commitment to the project. Following in the footsteps of the most successful open source projects, our goal is to pave a path for careers and companies to be born out of Backstage.

Sustaining our investment and expanding the ecosystem

The open source version of Backstage began as a humble Spotify Hack Week project but, as the project has grown, so have our goals. We want to make Backstage the standard developer portal platform across the industry to help developers everywhere be happier and more effective.

All along, we’ve believed the best way to achieve that goal is by fostering a thriving ecosystem around the platform. Today we’re excited to share the next step in expanding that ecosystem: starting next year, Spotify will begin offering paid plugins for Backstage. This will allow us to bring even more of our expertise and experience to the platform.

We love Backstage. We depend on Backstage. Right now, only a small portion of the value that Backstage provides within Spotify is available to people outside of Spotify. And as the project has evolved, we’ve heard from adopters and contributors alike that Spotify’s experience and maturity with Backstage is one of the platform’s key differentiators.

Adding paid plugins from Spotify to the other commercial services surrounding Backstage will make the platform more valuable to current adopters (Spotify included), broaden its reach to new adopters, and create a more diverse ecosystem for the community at large.

And revenue generated from paid plugins can be reinvested into developing more plugins and evolving Backstage. And the beat goes on!

Spotify-built, Spotify-tested

Over the years, we’ve learned a lot about how to improve developer experience with Backstage — and we can’t wait to bring even more of those ideas and insights to your teams.

This new category of plugins — built and sold by Spotify — will come in two flavors:

  1. Tried and true: Beloved plugins we’ve been using internally with great success and have been battle-tested by our own internal developer community.
  2. New and improved: Brand-new plugin concepts that we think will unlock value for engineering orgs adopting Backstage.

While Spotify will retain ownership and licensing of these plugins, there’s no doubt that we also plan to keep contributing open source plugins to the community. We want to keep the momentum on the open source project, while also adding rocket fuel by unlocking more plugin possibilities.

More paid plugins, more free plugins — more value for everyone

If this business model sounds familiar (hello Freemium!), that’s because it's a core part of our company mission: to unlock the human potential and creativity out there in the world. We believe developers need a better experience, just like everyone should enjoy music and audio in the ways they want to listen.

Our intention is to keep adding new plugins to our commercial offering over time. But to be clear — SPOTIFY IS NOT MOVING AWAY FROM OPEN SOURCE CONTRIBUTIONS OR THE BACKSTAGE COMMUNITY. Sorry for getting shouty, but we really don’t want the community we love to get the wrong idea. In fact, it’s really the opposite.

We’re doubling down on Backstage, and paid plugins enable Spotify to continue to grow our investment in the open source project and community.

Coming soon to a repo near you — sign up now

We’ll be talking through our commercialization plan a bit more at this week’s Backstage Community Session. If you’d like updates on our new paid plugins — or are interested in trying the plugins early — please sign up to join the private waitlist for the alpha.