After more than ayear of hinting,Spotify isfinally comingto Japan this month.The Swedish music streaming servicewill go live in the countrybefore the end of September, a source at the company confirmed to TechCrunch.
The Nikkei earlier this summer reported that the launch was imminent. The publication, one of Japans leading business publications, said that Spotify Premium would cost around1,000 yen (close to$10) per month, andthats the same price range wehave heard.
This launch in Japan, the planets second largest music market based on sales,has been a long time coming for Spotify, which recently passed 40 million paying customers. Last October yes, nearly one year ago we reportedthat the company was increasing its focus on Asia with plans to land in Indonesia and Japan. That Indonesia expansion happened in Marchof this year, and Spotify has been focused on bringing its service online in Japan since then.
Spotifys Tokyo office has been open for 18 months butit has been hiring in the country for two years. Yet, it has sat back and watched as othershavebeaten it to the punch in Japan. Messaging service Line, which wentpublic earlier this year and has nearly 70 million users in Japan, launched a music streaming service in Japan last year, while Apple, Google and even domestic e-commerce giant Rakuten have piled in withrival services.
Spotify has certainly taken its time building out a team in Tokyo it is currently hiring for nineother positions but there is some logical behind the delay. Japanese consumers still prefer to buy CDs and theres plenty of resistance to streaming and other online models from record labels. But, with annual music sales estimated at nearly $3 billion, Japanis a market that streaming companies hope can become equally as lucrative for them. Thats particularly importantfor Spotify given rumors of a public listingin the not too distant future.
Spotify CEO Daniel Ek subtly revealed its latest user milestone this week
Spotify has brokered deals with labels in Japan and even hired staff from them and itll bebanking that the competition, which haventexactlyset the world on fire there yet, have created earlydemand for streaming which it can piggyback on. Now, with anything up to a half a dozen notable streaming services available to consumers, Japans music industry is beginning its transition to digital.
As for Spotifys next move in Asia: we reported back in March that it was casting its eye on India, and the country could well be its next target. However, we understand that theres been no solid commitment on that from Spotify yet. Nevertheless,given the slow speed at which ithas expanded in Asia, we dont expect to see a move into India or other new markets in Asia, for that matter for some time.
Spotifyfirst entered Asia in 2013 and it is currently available in fivecountries in the continent: Hong Kong, Singapore, the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia.
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