Spotify to launch in SA this month

Spotify is bringing its music to South Africa later in March. Photo: Emmanuel Dunand / AFP

JOHANNESBURG - South Africans will later in March finally be able to legitimately subscribe to Spotify, the streaming service that has revolutionised how people listen to music.

The service announced its estimated $1-billion initial public offering in February.

Its local launch was one of the worst-kept secrets after the Swedish company, which is considered the gold standard of this new genre of music streaming, posted an advert in September 2017 for a “senior editor/music programmer — South Africa”.

On Tuesday, Spotify sent out an e-mail, effectively confirming the launch, saying: “Spotify has some news to share. Please join us on Tuesday, March 13 to catch all the details.”

READ: Music sales soar in US, as streaming takes over market

Like its unusual business model, which has attracted 71 million premium-paying customers in 61 countries, Spotify intends to list on the New York Stock Exchange using a direct listing, which omits the usual roadshows and hefty adviser fees.

The listing is considered a possible test case for other brands such as Uber and Airbnb when they eventually decide to go public.

Spotify offers tiers of music streaming — from free to premium at $10 a month — and says that it controls 42 percent of the global music-streaming market, which it claims is double that of its closest rival, Apple Music.

Of its 159-million customers, its premium users grew 46 percent in 2017 to 71 million, according to its filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

Its revenue in 2017 was $4.99-billion, up from $3.6-billion in 2016. But is operating losses grew to $461-million in 2017, from $426-million the year before.

The cost for the digital music service in South Africa is unknown.

A Spotify spokesman confirmed next week’s event but would make no further comment.

Spotify offers clever music recommendations and playlists.

Discover Weekly (released on a Monday) and Release Radar (on Fridays) are personalised playlists that suggest 30 songs each to every user. 

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