Localization key to Spotify’s Asian expansion

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Music streaming service Spotify is localizing its service in Asia in order to further its expansion in the region.

The Swedish company, which has 100 million active users worldwide, first entered the Asian market in 2013 when the service launched in Singapore, Malaysia, and Hong Kong. It has since been made available in Indonesia, the Philippines, and Taiwan, and the company plans to operate across the whole of Asia in the future.

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The service has been a great success so far, with users in Indonesia having spent around 20 million hours streaming music since Spotify was launched there in March. On average, users spend approximately 90 minutes a day listening to music through Spotify, according to the company. One of the keys to its popularity in Asia has been its localization strategy, which has seen the firm use a number of techniques to connect with customers.

Sunita Kaur, Spotify’s managing director in Asia, revealed that the firm had to respond quickly when it realized that many customers who wanted to sign up were unable to as they didn’t have a credit card.

“So we introduced other payment methods,” she told the SEA Globe website. “We needed to bridge the gap between what we offer and accessibility. We introduced retail cards so people could subscribe and, in the Philippines, we went back to old-school bank transfers.”

It is not just the payment methods which are tailored for each country either, as the cost of the service also varies depending on the average income. So while users in Singapore pay S$9.90 ($7.30) a month to access its premium service, those in the Philippines are charged 129 pesos ($2.70) a month.

In an interview with Bloomberg, Ms Kaur revealed that Spotify’s localization strategy has also extended to the music it offers in different countries. For example, K-Pop has a strong following in Southeast Asia so Spotify has broadened its catalog of Korean music in the region.

Staff have even created topical playlists to provide the soundtrack to major events. Last year, the Singaporean and Malaysian skies were filled with smoke after a number of fires in nearby Indonesia so Spotify’s workers created a playlist called “Hazed & Confused”, which included songs such as “Harder to Breathe” by Maroon 5 and Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start The Fire”.

All of this combines into an effective localization policy which Ms Kaur hopes will hope smooth the firm’s entry into other Asian markets.

“We have 58 countries now and that’ll grow,” she told the SEA Globe website. “It’s definitely easier to move to different countries now we’ve had the practice, and we’re at the point where we have a lot of demand – Thailand, Indonesia, even maybe Cambodia. We want to be everywhere.”

Based in South Korea, HansemEUG is a leading localization service provider. Our highly skilled team can create and localize content in more than 72 languages. We work tirelessly to ensure our clients’ brands and content are accurately conveyed throughout the world. For more information about our services, please contact Brian Cho (briancho@hansem.com) or visit our website.

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