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Spotify is expanding around the world, making its streaming audio service available in 80 new markets in the coming days.
The international expansion, which will include countries like Bangladesh, Pakistan and Nigeria, will make Spotify available to more than 1 billion people around the world who didn’t previously have access to the service. The company is also adding support for 36 languages to its platform.
Adding the new markets will nearly double the number of countries where Spotify is available. It currently operates its service in 93 markets.
The news was announced during the company’s Feb. 22 Stream On virtual event, which also included a number of music and podcasting updates that helped boost its stock more than 4 percent during morning trading.
Thirteen-year-old Spotify is the most popular music streaming service with 345 million active users and 155 million subscribers to its ad-free Premium product around the world. But like other high-growth companies in their early years, it has yet to turn a profit. Monday’s event was all about showing creative partners and investors about how the company plans to build a lasting business for the future.
“It’s really just about setting the stage for an explosion in audio creation and being able to show how we support creators,” Dawn Ostroff, Spotify’s chief content and advertising business officer, said in an interview after the event had concluded.
The international expansion echoes a similar move by Netflix in 2016 to significantly increase its presence around the world. Since then, international markets have fueled growth for the subscription video service.
Spotify is not only growing its business by tapping into a larger pool of potential new audiences. The company announced plans to roll out a new, higher priced subscription tier, Spotify HiFi, which will offer high-quality music streaming.
Spotify also is counting on podcasting to drive up non-music streaming on its platform. The company began investing heavily in audio a little more than two years ago by buying up a portfolio of podcast production companies and technology firms. The culmination of many of those investments is the newly announced Spotify Audience Network, which will will allow brands to advertise on podcasts, including Spotify’s originals and exclusives, both on- and off-platform.
“Our focus is really being the best monetization platform for audio creators,” said Ostroff, adding that the Spotify Audience Network will “bring money to creators who maybe haven’t see it before, and those that have hopefully bring them more advertisers to be able to pair with. For the advertisers, it’s going to bring a much wider array of content for them to get their messages heard.”
Another monetization tool that Spotify will begin to test for podcast creators is paid subscriptions. Powered by Spotify-owned Anchor, the feature will allow fans to directly support podcasters on the platform, following a boom in memberships through services like Patreon and OnlyFans. Ostroff said that the tool was in the early phase but that it would be built on top of Spotify’s existing experience.
In order to continue to drive podcast audiences to its platform, Spotify has inked a number of exclusive deals, including a recent pact with Joe and Anthony Russo to develop genre series. The latest projects to emerge from those deals include a Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen podcast and a new show about holding law enforcement accountable from Ava DuVernay’s ARRAY.
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