Online music service Spotify launches in the Philippines

Sunita Kaur, Spotify Asia director at the Philippine launch of the popular online music service.

MANILA, Philippines — Music streaming service Spotify has now launched in the Philippines after gaining much traction in various Western countries.

Sunita Kaur, Spotify director for Asia, said that they initially took time to build up their library of Filipino artists before coming to the country.

“Honestly if we could have come here sooner, we would have,” Kaur said. “One thing that was very important to us is to have a very robust music catalogue as we wanted to make sure that we have a very robust OPM (original Pilipino music) catalog.”

Kaur, however, declined to give details on the exact number of songs by local artists in their library, only noting that they now have a collection of over 20 million songs from a variety of artists globally.

Users have a choice of using the service as free — where listening is interrupted by advertisement, audio quality is low, and streaming can only be done online — or to pay for the premium account — which is free of ads, audio quality is optimal, and users can listen to music even without Internet connection. The premium account is available for P129 per month, which can be paid through a credit or a Globe GoSURF data plan as Spotify has Globe Telecoms as its exclusive telecom partner.

According to Kaur, 70 percent of every dollar they make is paid to the artist.

“The more you play a song, the more money goes to an artist,” Kaur said.

Kaur added that artists also who have content on the streaming service will have a special dashboard on the application to track how much they are earning.

“We are transparent,” Kaur said.

Though online piracy runs rampant in the Philippines, Kaur said that they are optimistic to spark a sea change since users can actually use their service for free.

“Before Spotify, people didn’t want to pirate music but they did not have an alternative,” Kaur said.

Spotify, which currently has Singapore as their regional headquarters, has over 24 million worldwide users, 6 million of which are paying subscribers. The company said that they have also so far paid $1 billion to rights holders of their content since they launched in October 2008.