Picture: REUTERS
Picture: REUTERS

Spotify, the world’s biggest music streaming company, is in talks with local mobile operators about content partnerships, according to Claudius Boller, Spotify’s MD for the Middle East and Africa.

The Stockholm-based company, which has equity ties to Naspers’s associate company Tencent, launched in SA on Tuesday, a decade after it was founded. Naspers and Tencent launched a similar product in SA, Joox, in August 2017.

While no firm agreements had been reached, Boller said, "we are in deep talks with the telecom operators at the moment to present offers in the market that help the music audience connect faster and better".

Tie-ups between content platforms and mobile operators have become commonplace in SA, where the cost of data is perceived as being high.

Telkom, for instance, has teamed up with a handful of video and music streaming platforms to offer customers on certain packages zero-rated access to this content. Its content partners include Google Play Music, Apple Music and Simfy Africa.

Boller said Spotify had other measures in place to mitigate the high cost of data. Its free-to-use offering, which requires users to listen to about three minutes of advertisements an hour, compressed songs so that an hour of streaming consumed just 10.8Mb of data, "which is much lower … than other competitor services".

Spotify’s premium service, which costs R59.99 a month and does not include ads, allowed users to download music in Wi-Fi zones so that they did not have to consume data at other times. Spotify, which is preparing to list in New York, said it has 159-million active monthly users globally, including 71-million premium subscribers.

The legal streaming industry had reignited the music industry, said Michael Krause, Spotify’s MD for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

The company had paid more than €8bn to rights holders for the use of their music.

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