Spotify Goes Lite in Power Grab for Emerging Market Dominance

Spotify is taking a formidable step to win emerging-market dominance by launching a “lite” version of its service in markets where inexpensive, slower phones are abundant.

At only 10 megabytes, Spotify Lite will be easier to download and can be used separately from the existing app for both free and premium streaming services. It allows users to set a limit for how much data it can consume, and lets them know when they’ve reached that limit.

Spotify has been testing a lighter version of its app since mid-2018.

The new service, which runs only on Android and is available on Google Play, is designed for users who are limited by data plans and slower networks, especially in regions like Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America, the company said.

“Spotify Lite was built from the ground up based on user feedback from around the world, allowing millions more to enjoy the world’s best music experience, especially in areas with limited bandwidth and phone storage,” said Kalle Persson, Senior Product Manager at Spotify. 

The service is being released in 36 markets, including: Brazil, Canada, Mexico, Argentina, Peru, Chile, Colombia, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Uruguay, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Algeria, Lebanon, Morocco, Tunisia, Oman, Jordan, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, South Africa, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, and India.

Table: Latin America, the World’s Fast-growing Market

GrowthMusic streaming’s fastest-growing region with Brazil (+15.4%) and Mexico (+14.7%) performing the highest
RegionConsists of 20 countries stretching from Mexico to the southern tip of South America, including the Caribbean
Population Estimated at more than 639 million people
Internet UsageThe fourth-largest online market behind Asia, Europe and Africa, with about 438 million internet users
Leading Services Spotify (46%), SoundCloud (16%), Deezer (12%)

“When We Thrive, the Ecosystem Thrives”

Services like Spotify see emerging markets as a break away opportunity to seal a global footprint before paid-subscription growth hits a ceiling.

The company currently counts on North America and Europe for 65 percent of its users. Africa, Asia, and the Middle East make up just 13 percent. India, however, is one of the fastest-growing regions for Spotify, with two million users signing up after its February 2019 launch.

China, the world’s biggest internet market, is the stage for Spotify’s partnership with Tencent Music Entertainment, the music spinoff of Chinese internet giant Tencent Holdings.

The two companies took a stake in each other’s music streaming businesses in an investment deal in December 2018. Unlike Spotify, Tencent Music generates only a fraction of revenue from music subscription packages, and instead relies on services popular in China, such as online karaoke and livestreaming.

“There’s much, much room for us to grow, both geographically and also product-wise,” Cecilia Qvist, Spotify’s global head of markets, told an audience attending the RISE tech conference in Hong Kong. “Hopefully when we thrive, the ecosystem thrives.”

Lite App Launches: What to Know

  • Skype Lite – February 2017
  • Twitter Lite – April 2017
  • YouTube Go – February 2018
  • Facebook Lite – March 2018
  • Instagram Lite – June 2018
  • Uber Lite – June 2019
  • Tinder Lite – July 2019
  • Spotify Lite – July 2019