Audio streaming platform Spotify officially launched in Pakistan to tug at the heartstrings of local music enthusiasts. The music curating platform that has been serenading global markets since 2008 now offers 70+ million tracks across 170 markets worldwide.
Spotify boasts “an existing user base of 345 million monthly active users with 155 million subscribers all over the world,” says Claudius Boller, Managing Director, Spotify Middle East and Africa, who also oversees operations in Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh. The app, available on more than 2,000 devices from more than 200 bands, gives listeners the opportunity to discover music and build playlists for every mood and situation. In addition to that, it provides music and podcast recommendations that are curated and customised to each listener.
With mobile penetration standing at approximately 50% and its rich archive of ethnic, folk, pop and rock music, Pakistan is an unexplored goldmine for music lovers. “When we are looking at new market opportunities, there are several metrics we look into to determine how best to approach a specific market, including internet and smartphone penetration, local licensing, competitive landscape, to name a few,” Boller says.
The biggest competitors Spotify would have to tackle in Pakistan are websites that offer pirated music. The app, however, stands out for its unique range of user subscription plans that include a monthly free subscription, and plans such as Premium Family, Premium Student and Premium Duo plans start from as low as Rs 29. According to Boller, offering flexible packages “ensures we are customising our premium value offering, making it accessible across price-conscious consumer segments.” Spotify Free allows limited on-demand online access to music catalogues and unlimited online access to its podcasts. Spotify Premium, on the other hand, provides unlimited and ad-free access to music catalogues, new releases, podcasts and lets users download up to 10,000 songs on up to five different devices. In Pakistan, Spotify has partnered with telcos such as Telenor and Zong for direct carrier billing payment to address billing woes.
Listeners will get a chance to explore tunes from all over the globe. A team of local music experts has curated special playlists for Pakistani listeners. Users can freestyle to localised playlists such as Hot Hits Pakistan, Pakistani Rock Hits, Pakistani EDM 10, Dream OSTs, and Loadshedding Longings.
The music recommendations on Spotify “are based on a combination of human expertise from our world-class editorial team, and algorithmic models that deliver individual experiences to each user based on their preferences and habits,” Boller explains. Playlists, such as Daily Mix, are solely built by algorithms based on users’ tastes and listening history. Others, such as Hot Hits Pakistan, are curated by the editorial team at Spotify.
Spotify’s launch is a win for the listeners and musicians in Pakistan. Local musicians will benefit from Spotify’s user base as the brand has, “connected over eight million artists with listeners across nearly every continent, putting Spotify firmly at the heart of the global audio economy,” Boller says. Spotify’s entry into the market will ensure that local music reaches a global audience and garner fandom from a culturally diverse audience.
Musicians who want to grow their fan base can do so through Spotify For Artists – a sister app available on iOS and Android. “The platform offers tools such as monetisation, discovery, promotion, and analytics that help artists to track real-time statistics for new releases, learn their audience, run their business, and connect with the community.”
“[Last week] we announced that Spotify is open for advertising offering brands a new opportunity to reach millions of engaged listeners through its innovative and creative ad-supported free tier; Httpool will serve as Spotify’s local advertising sales partner,” adds Boller.
With data consciousness at an all time high, Spotify offers transparency towards privacy policies on user data. “At Spotify, the privacy and the security of personal data is, and always will be, our highest priority. We are 100% committed to ensuring privacy and control over the information users share,” adds Boller.
While signing up, a user shares their name and email address, while music personalisation within the app comes from consumer habits and interests. “We capture more than half a trillion 'events' on our service every day from listeners interacting with music on Spotify, and we leverage that data to power the recommendations that our users know and love. By continuously listening and learning about people's habits and interests, we deliver an ever-evolving personalised soundtrack for each user,” Boller reiterates.
For now, the team at Spotify is testing ways to combine editorial and algorithmic recommendations to further add to the experience for both the listeners and the musicians. "For example, by taking an editorial playlist and narrowing it down to be personalized to the individual listener. You can expect us to continue innovating on that front," adds Bollers.
Taniya Hasan is a content marketer.