Swedish music streaming service ‘Spotify’ has expanded in Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong.
Spotify is today known as a commercial music streamer, where users can get good quality music instantly for free of charge.
Spotify was established in Sweden in 2006. Since April 2013, the music service is geographically available almost all around the world.
Malaysian born Sriram Krishnan turned his Spotify passion into his dream job, after studying at Kungliga Tekniska Høgskolan, KTH, in Stockholm, Sweden. On his return to Asia, Krishnan told his friends how great it was to have this ‘Swedish music streamer account for free’.
Krishnan is today Spotify’s Head of New Markets, APAC. Spotify Asia opened in April this year, launching in Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong:
“The funniest thing about this is that myself and Spotify CEO Daniel Ek might think sometimes we are just running a little start-up. Reality shows that that little start-up has taken over the world as the leading music sharer. The amount of our newly created accounts, come in numbers of millions. It is insanely fun!” says Krishnan.
According to Krishnan, Spotify is experiencing an immediate shift of music sharing. The Malaysian, Singapore and Hong Kong co-hubs of countries have been their most successful launch ever, globally.
“It just proves that there are so much demand for quality music and free music. Remember, we have been very fortunate that our brand has been a tremendous success in US and in Europe, Australia and New Zealand and that fans have been patiently waiting for us, now in HK, to the point where we immediately adopted as soon as we launched. I am happy to announce that the Malaysia been the most successful co-hub ever, across the world” says Krishnan.
Like many other users, Krishnan got an account in 2007. Little did the former KTH student know that six years later he was going to be appointed as the Head of New Markets for Asia-Pacific:
“I got my hands on Spotify early 2007. I have been using Spotify since then; it is amazing, it is free and it is mind blowing. When I came back to Asia I promoted Spotify unofficially like a fan, and now I am promoting it as an employee. I used to do that for free and fun, and now I am getting paid to do it and it is awesome.”
Expanding in Asia & Piracy
Launching Spotify in Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong occurred at the same time in April this year.
“Piracy is very high, it is rampant. Daniel Ek, Our Ceo, founder of Spotify lived in the hope of addressing piracy so that is one of the biggest considerations that we have. Music is merely social, what is the point of having a music service for one self? Know what other people are listening to, and this is the biggest and mostly dominant aspect of them. Facebook is also very dominating here in Singapore and Hong Kong. We know people who are highly social and they have to have a healthy music scene, with lots of contents. It made sense to launch in Malaysia and Singapore and use these countries as a building stone for an expansion in Asia,” says Krishnan.
“Globally we have got 24 million active subscribers, out of which 6 million are paying subscribers. That gives us the conversion of 20-25%, which is great and those are the conversions we are seeing here in Singapore and Hong Kong. It is very consistent.
The second thing is the fact that for Asia we have simplified the product a bit. You might be customer to the product we have in Europe where there is a free version, unlimited version and the premium version.
In Asia, we are having the free version and the premium version only, as it is very obvious because; a) we needed to simplify the product, and b) mobile usage is a bit more prominent in this part of the world. Mobile is something that people cannot overlook: when you pay for product you make it mobile. If you don’t pay, the standard product is still given to you for free.
The reason why we are so popular is because of our free service. We are the only ones free in the market and there are many more services in the free month-on-month market. No frequency capping and no audio capping, it is completely free, and there is no one out there with this type of practice,” says Krishnan.
Spotify says that music is meant to be shared and that is the reason artists and bands create music, for people to listen to it, it is an inherently social.
“Malaysia and Singapore and Hong Kong are very social places, given that most of the users are on Facebook. We see tremendous amount of sharing music via Spotify in these countries. We don’t have the exact stats here because it is early dates but we have seen tremendous amount of sharing whether that is by artist, by DJ, by fan, by our brand partner, and we have seen that it happens very quickly.
Think about it, the smart phone penetration is very high here in Singapore, so intra-penetration is very high. All the signs show our points towards a very successful launch of Spotify as well as a very successful popular sharer of music” Krishnan adds.
Spotify aims to expand in more markets in Asia.
“You have to remember that we are still a five-year-old company since our launch in 2008. We are still a start-up, we are still very small. Despite this, we have given back 1 billion US dollars to the music industry coming to the end of the year.
1 billion USD for a five-year old company live in 28 markets. Now this is money. Our main charge is piracy and we address piracy. We aim to get money from a bunch of users who would never pay for music, and get them to stop to pay for music, for S$120 a month. These are people who would never pay for music and they will never pay for music again, it is a great variety of service so they actually want us to launch everywhere. But we do not launch until we get the right catalogue, the most comprehensive music vision and local music and that is time consuming. We ensure that we have the perfect product before we launch.
Singapore has lots of consumption of local-music and regional music, which is great because we are able to provide that experience and consumers are able to listen to their local and regional favorite hits. The second thing is that lots of people doubted the access log to remember we are all about access versus ownership. We believe that if you have access to the world of music why do you have to order illegal music? That is our mantra,” says Krishnan.