At last SA gets into the global Spotify stream


At last SA gets into the global Spotify stream

World-leading music streaming service launches locally

Sylvia McKeown

There was a time when the tech savvy and geeky had a secret currency, VPNs. One-upmanship was rife among this set with pirates trying to figure out the best way to cheat the system, and music and film buffs figuring out how to get around our geographical location down here at the southern tip of Africa. All in the name of accessing the best music and movie loot. “Oh, you don’t have Netflix? That’s too bad, all you need to do is download this, pay for that,” and they’d successfully trick Americans into thinking said operators were American.
But slowly things got better and overseas markets started to pay attention to us. Those who had managed to find the loopholes and obtain access to the fancy US Netflix have mostly relented and joined us on the dark side of Netflix – the African version where there are far fewer titles available – much to the chagrin of local streamers.
Now another big name in streaming has decided to grace the African market with their presence. Music streaming powerhouse Spotify has finally dropped down south, making  content available to us just ahead of listing on the New York Stock Exchange. And although the local music streaming space is already crowded, I think we should nevertheless be excited.There’s a reason why the streaming service has 160 million users – 71 million of those are premium subscribers (a service which costs R59,99 a month).  Thanks to its algorithms and curated playlists, it offers a much more user-friendly experience than most competitors, specifically when it comes to finding new music according to your tastes. There is also a lot of exclusive content from major artists – even Taylor Swift, who abandoned the service for a while.The company also plans to focus on talent in the local music scene rather than just pushing international content.
Despite all of this, it was a mistake by Spotify to take so long to invest in Africa. Deplorable data rates and spotty Internet aside, streaming and quick access to music make sense on a continent constantly on the go. This applies to local artists even more. They could finally be given a few bucks and a chance to reach an extended audience in an industry that notoriously does not always “pay for plays”.This is most obvious in the massive market shift towards Apple Music over the past year with Deezer, Google and Simfy Africa losing ground steadily. If Spotify  goes the way of Netflix, users are likely to shift to the bigger international brand. It will be interesting to see if users remain loyal to the services that were here first, and stick to the platforms that believed in African talent before Spotify took notice.
These are some local artists you can look forward to streaming on Spotify: Kwesta, Majozi, Jeremy Loops, Mi Casa, Black Coffee, Goldfish and Cassper Nyovest.
Spotify Free and Premium (with a free 30 day trial) is available now on the Apple App Store, Google Play Store, and Microsoft Store. It also works on Xbox and PlayStation consoles, TVs, and smart speakers.
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