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Spotify: Asians would rather endure ads than pirated music

Spotify ad launched in the US last month

Spotify ad launched in the US last month

Spotify has said that the musically-minded in Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore – where the music streaming site launched last week – would rather put up with the ads on its free service than continue to use pirated sites.

Sriram Krishnan, the company’s head of new markets in Asia Pacific, said that while he guessed 99 per cent of digital downloads in these markets are from pirated sources, music fans could be persuaded to switch to Spotify for a better product and more choice for free.

Advertising on Spotify – which can’t be skipped – runs for three to four minutes every hour, a better option than having to jump between multiple pirated sites to listen to the same tunes, he said.

Ads on Spotify are less frequent than on commercial radio, Krishnan added, which typically run for 15-20 minutes each hour. He said advertising on Spotify was more effective, because it combined audio with digital display visuals.

Its advertisers are Heineken, KFC, Maxis, and Standard Chartered in Malaysia, H&M and Subway in Singapore and CSL and McDonald’s in Hong Kong,

Spotify is also offering an ad-free premium service, which costs S$9.90/HK$48.00/MYR14.90 per month.

Spotify is not making a major marketing play in Asia yet, relying on an arrangement with Facebook that sees Spotify users’ music habits appear in the Facebook news feed, the same strategy it used in Australia and New Zealand where Spotify launched last year.

Spotify’s Facebook deal is not much use in China, where the social network has no presence. But Krishnan says Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia are “the first stepping stones” in an Asian expansion plan that would probably involve the region’s biggest potential market.

The company is using public relations – through Lewis PR – but there are no plans yet to push Spotify above-the-line push in Asia. In March, a US$10m campaign, created by Droga5, launched in US.

Droga5 Spotify print ad

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