Sunita Kaur, managing director of Spotify Asia. (Antara Photo)

Spotify Celebrates One-Year Anniversary in Indonesia Amid Rapid Growth


MAY 14, 2017

Jakarta. Spotify celebrated its one-year anniversary in Indonesia on Wednesday (10/05). With more than 30 million songs on its playlists and an ever-growing hold on the market, the Swedish music, podcast and video streaming service is now one of the fastest-growing platforms in the world.

Spotify Asia Managing Director Sunita Kaur said Indonesia is the company's second-biggest market in the region after the Philippines, and also the fastest growing.

"We've been in the Philippines for three years, and only a year in Indonesia. I think it's just a question of time [until Indonesia overtakes the Philippines]," Kaur told the Jakarta Globe during a discussion hosted by the Swedish Embassy in Jakarta.

Spotify was founded in 2006 by Daniel Ek in Stockholm, Sweden. It is currently available in 60 markets around the world, from Argentina to Japan, with over 100 million active users. It launched into the Indonesian market in March 2016.

One of Spotify's popular features is its user-generated playlists, which vary in different countries. Kaur said in Indonesia the most followed and played playlists are "Kopikustik," "Generasi Galau," and "Mager Parah."

"Depending on the time of day, some playlists are more popular than others," Kaur said, adding that her company’s data revealed a trend of Indonesians dedicating at least three hours a day to listen to music.

Kaur also said that when it comes to genres, Indonesia's top preferences are pop, electronic dance music and dangdut.

'Data Powers What We Do'

Streaming services such as Spotify have opened up new ways of discovering artists. Users can now access more music than ever, and listen to tracks that people never thought of listening to.

Kaur claimed Spotify's expanded scope as a platform is actually leading people to invent new genres.

"Japan has a new genre called baby metal, which is like hardcore metal meets kawaii [Japanese term for everything cute]," Kaur said.

"Spotify is known for our data science and music intelligence. As we were building the company, we didn't just go and buy other streaming companies. [Instead] Spotify focused on data science, and buying data companies," Kaur said.

Playlists like "Discover Weekly" is a fascinating example of Spotify's data-driven culture. It takes a song you like, finds more songs like it, taking into account the first song's tempo and rhythm, and put them all together into a curated playlist.

"No two playlists are the same," Kaur said. "Data powers what we do."

Growing Competition

The streaming industry is growing faster every day, but Kaur said that since the industry is so new, the more services there are the more it validates the industry as a whole.

Kaur cited Apple Music as an example.

"[When] Apple Music came to town, everyone was worried for Spotify. But [we were] really happy. Because if Apple wanted to play in our playground, it means we were doing something right. It validated our business," Kaur said.

According to Kaur, Spotify's user growth was at its highest in the year that Apple Music launched.

As of March 2017, Spotify had more than 50 million subscribers.

Made in Sweden

Swedish Ambassador Johanna Brismar Skoog said there is a unique relationship between Sweden and music. He pointed out the Scandinavian country's songwriters are behind many of the popular music we hear today.

Skoog said Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and Justin Timberlake are just a few of today's top pop musicians whose songs are written by Swedes and record their music in Swedish music studios.

For example, Swedish songwriter and record producer Max Martin is the man behind many pop hits in the last two decades, including Britney Spears's "... Baby One More Time" and Taylor Swift's "Blank Space."

Martin now has the third-most number one singles in the history of pop music, behind musical legends Paul McCartney and John Lennon.

"From the 90s onward we have been famous for our special Stockholm, or Sweden, sound," Skoog said on Wednesday.

Indonesian artists Raisa and Isyana Sarasvati also recorded their latest single and its music video "Anganku Anganmu" in Sweden.