Spotify arrives in Singapore, takes aim at music piracy

Justin Ong
Singapore Showbiz

Spotify officially reaches Singapore (Spotify Photo)

Highly-anticipated music streaming service Spotify has launched in Singapore.

Its database of over 20 million songs is now available legally and free-of-charge on desktops. The Swedish-born company charges S$9.90 a month for a “Premium” mobile and tablet experience, free of advertisements and complete with enhanced sound quality plus offline listening.

Users can play music in Spotify by searching; browsing playlists of friends, artists and celebrities; or via the application’s Radio feature.

A screenshot of the Spotify app running on a desktop.

Spotify claims to have 24 million users and 6 million paying subscribers globally, and is now available in 23 countries after adding Malaysia, Hong Kong and Singapore to the list.

Speaking to Yahoo! Singapore at the official launch on Tuesday, Sriram Krishnan, Spotify’s head of new markets in Asia-Pacific, confidently announced that “whatever Spotify has is perfect for our consumer in Singapore.”

When asked if Spotify will be subject to the same water-tight censorship faced by the music industry in Singapore, Krishnan replied: “We work with the relevant organizations to ensure our service is legal and our content up to standards.”

In addition, Singaporean music may get a chance to shine on the five-year-old platform. “We are always engaging local bands, labels and artists to ensure they have their content on Spotify,” said Krishnan.

Spotify joins other music streaming services in Singapore such as Deezer, as well as local offerings like MeRadio and Starhub’s Music Anywhere.

Sriram Krishnan, head of new markets in Asia-Pacific, speaking at the official launch. (Spotify Photo)

Versus the pirates

Krishnan declined to talk about Spotify’s rivals but said piracy is the service’s “biggest competitor and challenger since its foundational beginnings”.

In his opening speech earlier, he acknowledged that “consumers don’t care whether their music is legal or illegal. All they want is access to music that they can listen to for free.”

Krishnan then went on to describe how Spotify had helped increase the global music industry’s revenue by 33 per cent in 2012, while popular (and illegal) BitTorrent website The Pirate Bay saw a 25 per cent dip that same year.

“Spotify is spearheading the revolution that is converting people from pirate sources to legal sources,” he explained.

The Malaysian national later told Yahoo! Singapore exactly how Spotify was doing so. “Piracy is inconvenient because of bad metadata and viruses and so on,” he argued. “Plus there’s the time-consuming hassle of going to multiple sites to pirate music.”

“On the other hand, Spotify is instant, legal and contained within one user interface and client. You don’t have to go anywhere else, it’s all right there in front of you. Isn’t that more compelling?"

In conclusion, Krishnan boldly asserted: “We can stamp piracy out. If you provide a free, convenient way to access music, you can.”