It may seem as if Spotify has been available in the country for ages, but it’s only been one year. In fact, this week marks the one year anniversary since the music streaming service was officially launched in South Africa, and in that short amount of time quite a bit has happened.
To gain a better understanding of how the past 12 months have been for Spotify in South Africa, as well as how the platform is being used to help local artists, along with what the immediate future holds, we caught up with MD for Middle East and Africa at Spotify, Claudius Boller.
Support from the start
Reflecting on the past 12 months, one of the most significant achievements that sticks out for Boller is the fact that local artists have a platform to share their music with a larger international audience thanks to Spotify.
“Our first year in South Africa has been extremely exciting and we have been thrilled by the response from music fans. Our launch in South Africa – our first African market – gave us the opportunity to offer local music fans access to a world of new music and genres, as well as giving local artists the opportunity to connect with a global audience of music fans on Spotify,” he enthuses.
While he cannot divulge precise statistics, he does note that the Spotify for Artists has proved an integral tool in the local creator experience, allowing them to access real-time information as to how their content is streaming on the platform.
One of the other elements that Boller is proud of are the partnerships, both with local music festivals such as Oppikoppi, Rocking the Daisies and Ultra, as well as brands that have pledged their commitment to the company from day one, like Mini, Pepsi and FNB.
To complement that continued support that Spotify has experienced since day one, Boller says the company returned in kind by placing a significant emphasis on helping local artists.
Again this is one aspect of the business where he cannot do into specific numbers, but he does affirm that the royalties from every piece of content consumed on Spotify is rightfully given to its creators. Helping them handle that in SA is CAPASSO, and the pair must be doing a solid job as we’re yet to hear of any issues regarding the payment of royalties locally.
Also adding clarity in that regard is the aforementioned Spotify for Artists tool, says Boller, with it being 100 percent accurate according to the MEA MD.
Another aspect that he points to as illustrating Spotify’s local commitment is the app’s low data saver feature, with Boller acknowledging that the cost of data is a real hurdle for many music lovers in SA. According to Spotify this feature commands less than 11MB of data per hour, and is four times more data savvy than competitor apps, adds Boller.
On the horizon
While this week is indeed cause for celebration for everyone at Spotify, the festivities will end quickly as the company looks to make some significant announcements on the horizon, along with working on some initiatives to launch in the coming years.
Boller could not reveal too much to us, but was able to hint at a few forthcoming attractions.
Family plans for example is something that Spotify is actively working on for South Africa, says Boller. There is no definitive timeline for it, but he does add that it’s something that the company is in active discussion about locally to get off the ground.
Another offering that Spotify is actively working on are podcasts, with a handful of original international ones being localised. The streaming service is also looking into ways of making more local original podcasts available too, but this is something that is still being discussed.
Added to this is a continuation of hardware and software partnerships with established technology brands. Samsung is one such firm, with the availability of smartphones and wearables coming pre-installed with Spotify to be officially announced soon.
And lastly Boller says that many of the educational initiatives and meetups that Spotify has been holding over the past 12 months will continue into the future, as it tries to get more local talent involved with the platform.
No looking back
With Spotify’s first year in South Africa a success by almost every measure, the future is looking bright for the streaming service locally.
Boller says the firm will be doubling down on their investments in the country, especially as South Africa not only has a better engagement and listening time than most other countries, as well as having a higher retention rate than the global average.
“We have had a fantastic first year in South Africa, and want to thank all of the artists, labels and music fans who have been on the journey with us so far. We are very excited about what the future holds,” ends Boller.