Spotify founder Daniel Ek has announced that the audio streaming platform will be launching in eighty-five new markets across Africa, Latin America, Asia, and the Caribbean. It is one of a number of announcements the platform has made with regards to its growth for 2021.
With the additions of these markets, Spotify will have a total of one hundred and eighty markets worldwide and reach more than a billion consumers. The announcements were made at the ‘Stream On’ launch event, which was streamed globally on Monday evening.
In a Q&A event on Tuesday morning, members of the Spotify AUNZ team including Mikaela Lancaster, Managing Director, Alicia Sbrugnera, Head of Music, Pieter Manten, Head of Sales, and Rowdie Walden, Aboriginal Podcaster and creator of Spotify Original Search Engine Sex, spoke about the platform’s goals for 2021.
In the stream, which featured artists such as Billie Eilish, Khalid, and Australian rapper The Kid LAROI, founder Daniel Ek described Spotify as “an audio renaissance”, rather than a restoration. It is a position focused on moving away from the limits of traditional music consumption.
Ek said that “streaming has fundamentally changed the music ecosystem”, and estimated that by 2025 Spotify would host fifty million creators on their platform.
Much emphasis was placed on the importance of audio, not just music streaming, for Spotify’s expansion. Initiatives like Spotify’s Daily Drive and Daily Wellness were pointed to by AUNZ Managing Director Mikaela Lancaster as evidence of Spotify’s ability to “take on radio.”
Daily Drive and Daily Wellness combine curated podcast and news audio with music from users’ libraries.
Lancaster told audiences that this was an important area of innovation for Spotify.
“The podcast of today is not necessarily what it is going to look like in the future.”
Alicia Sbrugnera, Head of Music, emphasised programs like Spotify Radar, which promotes emerging artists. She also spoke about Spotify’s role in promoting audio and artists to international audiences.
“[We are] facilitating connections between artists and fans.”
For potential brand partners, Pieter Manten, Head of Sales said that Spotify’s new announcements meant “unparalleled [opportunities] to do hyper-targeted marketing.”
One of Spotify’s first new brand partnerships is with McDonald’s, who is the first official Australian partner for Renegades: Born in the USA, a new podcast starring American musician Bruce Springsteen and former President Barack Obama in conversation.
The podcast series will contain eight episodes, with the first two episodes launching on Spotify on Tuesday morning.
Highlights also included Marquee, a music marketing tool that will use data to target listeners with native advertisements for new releases.
Canvas, described by Sbrugnera as the “album art of the streaming age”, is an eight-second visual loop chosen by artists to be displayed while a song is playing.
There are also enhanced albums, which see albums on Spotify released with exclusive content and original material.
The first artist to release an enhanced album within the APAC markets was Australian artist Tame Impala, who released ‘The Slow Rush Time Warp’ on 14th February.
Other initiatives were Spotify Hi-Fi, the platform’s first add-on subscription service to Spotify Premium. The add-on will bring “CD quality” sound to music streaming, which Sbrugnera said was a result of “demand for high-quality audio” from both fans and artists, who want “the opportunity to take that studio experience and give it to their listeners.”
Spotify’s global expansion will also see an additional twenty-five languages represented in their audio content.
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