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Spotify launches in Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan

Music streaming service Spotify has launched in Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka, two years after launching in India, the company announced on Monday. This expands Spotify’s rollout in South Asia to four countries, leaving only Myanmar. Over the past fortnight, Spotify also launched in several smaller countries around the world, including Botswana, Gambia, Gabon, Brunei, and Georgia. Relatively larger markets like Nigeria and Kenya also got access to Spotify overnight. The Nepali version of Spotify doesn’t appear to have gone live at the time of this article’s publication.

Localised language, pricing

Spotify has localised pricing in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, with versions of the website available in Bengali and Tamil respectively. Interestingly, Sinhala, which is spoken by the majority of Sri Lankans, doesn’t appear to be an option yet. Even more interestingly, while Sri Lanka has a Tamil language website from Spotify, India, which has the largest Tamil population in the world, does not have one; India doesn’t even have Hindi as an option on Spotify. But that’s probably because Spotify wants to drop support for several Indian languages at the same time. (CITATION)

“As a part of Spotify’s effort to continue localising the product and making audio streaming more accessible, we are launching in 36 new languages across the world, including 12 languages in India – Hindi, Gujarati, Bhojpuri, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Odia, Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu, and Bengali,” the company said in a press release recently.

Inexpensive pricing for South Asia

India is no longer the cheapest place in South Asia to get a Spotify subscription. In Sri Lanka, Spotify Premium costs LKR 529 (around Rs 200) a month, PKR 299 (Rs 111.52) in Pakistan, and BDT 199 (Rs 170) in Bangladesh. The ‘premium’ subscription costs Rs 119 a month in India. In comparison, ‘premium’ is slightly cheaper in Pakistan, and slightly costlier in other countries.

India remains the only country where even the free version of Spotify has unlimited skips on mobile devices. In other countries, Spotify forces free users to shuffle music from albums, with no choice on what track to play first, and limits the number of songs they can skip. In India, where several streaming apps compete at low prices and ad-supported features, Spotify (sensibly) chose to do away with those restrictions for free users.

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Spotify completes 2 years in India

After finishing two years in India this month, Spotify disclosed the following details on the Indian market (no paying subscriber numbers were disclosed):

  • 10,000+ Indian artists claimed their Spotify for Artists profile since launch, and 600+ playlists (up 5x since launch) have been locally curated by Spotify’s in-house editors featuring several of these artists..
  • In 2020, more than 20 artists from India featured in several Spotify global playlists. This included Antariksh, Abhilasha Sinha, Sandunes, and Sarathy Korwar, among others.
  • The number of podcasts created on Anchor (which was acquired by Spotify in 2019) in India have increased 80x in a span of one year (Feb 2020 – Feb 2021).

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I cover the digital content ecosystem and telecom for MediaNama.

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.

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