Spotify to launch in 85 new markets, reach over a billion people

The Swedish company’s shares rose as much as six percent to a record high of $387.44.

Higher Ground Productions, Barack and Michelle Obama's production company, announced another new show with Bruce Springsteen for Spotify called Renegades: Born in the USA [File: Jason Reed/Reuters]

Spotify said on Monday that it would nearly double its market presence by launching in 85 new markets in the next few days, making the music streaming service available to more than a billion people around the world.

The company’s shares, which were down in early trading, reversed course to rise as much as six percent to a record high.

The Swedish company, which started its service more than a decade ago, is currently available in 93 countries and has 345 million monthly active users.

While Spotify is the leader in music streaming, entry in new countries across Asia, Africa, Europe and Latin America would significantly increase the gap with its rivals, Apple Music and Amazon Music.

“Together these markets represent more than a billion people, with nearly half of them already using the internet,” said Spotify Chief Premium Business Officer Alex Norstrom. “Some of the places we’re going like Bangladesh, Pakistan and Nigeria have the fastest-growing internet populations in the world.”

An earlier expansion drive in India, Russia and the Middle East has already brought in millions of subscribers.

While paid subscribers got a boost during the coronavirus pandemic as people locked in their homes opted for its premium service, the company is now looking to boost its advertisement revenue.

In a one-and-half-hour livestream featuring singing by Justin Bieber, Spotify released a host of new features for artists and tools for advertisers for better targeting its millions of users across music and podcasts.

Podcast play

In its efforts to make money from podcasts, Spotify announced the creation of a podcast advertising marketplace where advertisers can buy across a network of original exclusive and independent podcasts and target audiences both on and off Spotify.

Former United States President Barack Obama (left) and singer Bruce Springsteen (right), pictured here during a 2012 election campaign rally in Wisconsin, are launching a new show for Spotify called Renegades: Born in the USA [File: Jason Reed/Reuters]

The company has spent hundreds of millions of dollars to boost its podcast range, which now has more than 2.2 million podcast titles, including The Michelle Obama Podcast and one by Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan.

Higher Ground Productions, Barack and Michelle Obama’s production company, announced another new show with Bruce Springsteen for Spotify called Renegades: Born in the USA.

On Monday, Spotify announced a partnership with AGBO – a company led by Anthony and Joe Russo, creators behind films such as Avengers: Infinity War – for multiple podcast series. It also signed a deal with Warner Bros and DC for a range of narrative-scripted podcasts.

The first, Batman Unburied, will release later this year as part of a set of characters whose stories will be explored via audio, including Superman, Wonder Woman, Joker, and Catwoman, among others.

Spotify also launched a new subscription service, Spotify HiFi, with which premium subscribers in select markets will be able to upgrade their sound quality of the songs to “lossless” CD-quality music.

Shares reached an intra-day high of $387.44.

Source: Reuters