After four years of his journey in India, the music streaming platform Spotify decided to scale up its operations and advertising business in one of the most important markets in the world by following the fast track route of the Indian Premier League (IPL).
“Very interesting creative solutions and innovations are ready to excite both listeners and brands during IPL,” Arjun Kolady, head of sales for the Swedish streaming giant, told e4m when asked about SpotifyIPL offers. However, he did not disclose details about these offers.
Richard Frankel, the company’s Global Creative Director was in India last month as Spotify India celebrated its fourth birthday. He shared the company-funded study “Sonic Science 2.0” which claimed that audio is one of the most effective media when it comes to memorabilia value. The study also found that the ads have a 19% increase in brand impact Spotify compared to all other media.
Spotifywhich leans towards Gen Z, claims it currently works with more than 300 brands, including Visa, Samsung, OnePlus, Amazon, and Mondelez.
As internet access, smartphone usage and online transactions increase in India, Spotify sees a huge opportunity for its growth. The company hopes to double the number of transaction users in India from the current 350 million to 700 million by 2030.
Over 40% of Spotify users are premium members who control most of the company. However, due to economic constraints, premium membership is not growing at the same rate as in recent years.
To attract more young consumers, especially those from Bharat, Spotify recently launched UPI for recurring subscriptions and free trials. Previously, only users with a debit or credit card could access a free trial.
Spotify recently announced new features for creators and fans.
Frankel and Kolady shared insights on the company’s journey to India, their expansion plans and challenges.
Arjun: It has been a fantastic journey towards market leadership in India over the last 4 years.
On the advertising side, we’ve worked with over 300 brands, including media and entertainment brands, FMCG companies, tech and device manufacturers, fintech and travel aggregators. We have won several awards, expanded the team and built strong alliances with our clients and agency partners.
But there is still so much to do. Digital audio advertising is still an emerging space and as market leaders our responsibility to move the ecosystem forward only increases. We will continue doubling down on evangelism, teaching and inspiration in audio.
richard: Being the largest audio streaming service is not a right. It’s a reward! And it is one that must be earned every day. We need to stay focused to ensure that all our listeners in India feel that we are their trusted and capable audio partner as they use our platform to soundtrack their lives. If we stay focused on music fans and audio consumers in general, we can build for the moments and moods and mindsets that inform their lives.
Arjun: We want to bring audio to its rightful place in the media landscape, especially given that time spent on audio goes beyond video streaming, gaming, news, etc. We are expanding our team to serve the market beyond our primary media vertical , tech and FMCG, and we will bring more advanced measurement and creative solutions to India this year.
And finally, we want to continue to drive innovation and accountability through programmatic and automation.
richard: This is a great and wide open question so I’m not sure if this answer pertains to the exact area you’re asking about but it got me thinking about growth and how we’ve managed it and a few things are still the core of it. First, you should always try to be as relevant locally as you are globally.
Sometimes we slow down our market expansion to ensure we can launch with repertoire and languages expected in each market. We also like to spend as much time as possible building audiences and listener loyalty before asking advertisers to participate in those listener interactions. It’s more than just a matter of scaling up. Managing expansion with these concepts creates more trust and more brand love and long-term opportunities for all our partners.
On IPL offers
Arjun: The excitement around IPL is growing and we are helping our partners understand how to best benefit them Spotify as part of their media mix.
While the actual viewing of the matches is cancelled Spotifywe own the pre-match and post-match celebrations – through phones, smart TVs, cars, watches, game consoles and home speakers.
Last year saw a 113% increase in cricket related streams Spotify during the tournament. According to GWI, 77% of Spotify free users are cricket fans and 67% follow the IPL. Not only that, 22% of cricket fans on Spotify have participated in fantasy sports and 71% of cricket fans Spotifyuse digital payments.
We have some very interesting creative solutions and innovations that we’ve lined up that will excite both our listeners and brands throughout the tournament.
richard: Spotify is currently working on an AI-enabled DJ, which would be a personalized AI assistant that would play music according to your choice. We are also working on NFT compatible playlists. However, Indian users will have to wait for these innovations.