Spotify possibly coming to Africa with Vodacom partnership


The popular music streaming service, Spotify, is allegedly making its way to the African continent. According to certain sources, the Swedish startup is in talks with one of South Africa’s largest telecoms, Vodacom Group.

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As pointed out by Bloomberg, Vodacom might offer its wireless customers a limited amount of free data to access Spotify’s music library.

When it comes to local competition, Spotify faces the likes of Simfy Africa, Deezer, and Rdio. In terms of potential users, Vodacom operates in South Africa, Tanzania, Lesotho, Mozambique, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo and boasts over 30-million customers.

While any official announcement is still hush-hush, looking at the market stats, the deal would make sense. South Africa has shown an impressive increase in smartphone usage and, just recently, overtook the amount of feature phones on the market.

According to a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers, South Africans spent R90-million (US$8.4-million) on digital music in 2012, about 7.3% of the country’s recorded-music market.

Spotify is available on iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Blackberry and most web browsers. The service is most popular for hosting a massive selection of music and is said to add 20 000 songs a day. It’s also well-known for its song recommendation feature which seamlessly allows users to discover more music.

A deal between Vodacom and Spotify would make perfect sense as the mobile operator’s parent company, Vodafone, already has a content deal with the music streaming service as well as Netflix. Currently Vodafone users in the UK can get a free Spotify premium account and the same, it seems, will also be possible with Netflix. Vodafone owns 65% of Vodacom, a deal that led to a total overhaul of the Vodacom brand a few years ago.

Talking to Vodacom’s Head of Media Relations on the matter, Richard Boorman, he says that the operator is “looking at content deals” but noted that currently the company “cannot comment on any specifics”.

Vodacom’s latest quarterly report shows that data traffic in SA has gone up 80% in the last few years. Currently the mobile operator sees an average of 250mb monthly-usage per smartphone as opposed to just 40mb a few years ago.

Spotify is currently available in 56 countries stretching from Argentina to Finland, and Iceland to the Philippines. The service has over 40 million active users of which 10 million are paying subscribers.

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