Chatting with Spotify’s Sriram Krishnan

It has been about two months plus since the highly popular online streaming service was launched officially in Singapore, Malaysia and HongKong to the delight of many music fans. This meant that music fans can now get their music online legally either with the free service that comes with ads or its ad free premium service at a low rate (highly recommended by the POPCulture Online team).

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Kenneth Wong catches up with Spotify’s Sriram Krishnan who is the Head of New Markets for Asia Pacific, to find out how Spotify have been doing in Asia since it’s offical launch and it’s plan to keep on improving the application.

Question: It has been about a month since Spotify opened its doors here in Singapore and I would like to find out how has the reception been both locally and around the region (Malaysia and Hong Kong).

Sriram: The launch of Spotify in Asia has exceeded our expectations in both the response to the free service as well as subscriptions. We are super excited to be here and confident that music fans in Singapore and the region will love Spotify as much as they have in the rest of the world.

Question: Currently Spotify allows high quality music for both streaming and offline listening. For most users used to lossy quality like MP3, this is really good but how about those used to listening to lossless? Will there be a chance for lossless music over Spotify since we are now in the age of high-speed broadband with many users having higher end audio gear?

Sriram: Spotify gives you three levels of audio quality to suit your needs, the highest of which is 320 KPBS which is close to CD quality sound. We totally hear that some users with high end gear would love their music in a lossless format, and we’ll continue to investigate the possibility as higher speed broadband becomes more widely available and affordable.

Question: I love Spotify as there are tons of English songs both current and older ones. Unfortunately as a streaming service coming to Asian market, there seem to a lack of Asian artist especially the Chinese, Japanese and Korean ones. Will this change in the future? And if so, what timeline are we looking at?

Sriram: Our Asian music catalogue is extremely strong – we made it THE priority to ensure we offered the best of local and international music at launch and were hard at work months before launch to make sure that happened.

Major artists like Jay Chou, MayDay, Jolin Tsai and David Tao from Taiwan; Jacky Cheung, Joey Yung and Justin from Hong Kong; Big Bang, Super Junior and Girls Generation from Korea – they’re all there.

We’ve also made sure the Southeast Asia catalogue was incredibly strong. Artists such as Peterpan & Ungu from Indonesia; Bird Thongchai, Slot Machine & Thaitanium from Thailand; Siti Nurhaliza, Ella & Jaclyn Victor from Malaysia; and Singapore’s very own Great Spy Experiment, The Sam Willows & The Observatory.

We aggressively growing our content library to ensure whatever you want to listen to, we’ll have it on Spotify. That goes for local and global music, from the biggest superstars to the most exciting up and coming bands to the most comprehensive back catalogue available.

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Question: Spotify’s library also seems to be lacking in the oldies department like say music from the likes of Led Zeppelin, Def Leopard and Bad Company. Will more be added in soon to reach out to a wider audience group?

Sriram: Spotify offers one of the most comprehensive music catalogues available on any music service, with music from over 300,000 labels available on Spotify. We’ve come a long way to the point there are only a small handful of artists currently not on Spotify – in the last six months alone we’ve seen both Metallica and Pink Floyd come onto the service – and we’re confident the remaining artists will be offering their music to Spotify users some time soon.

Question: One thing that Spotify is definitely doing right is engaging the social media via the likes of twitter, tumblr and facebook. Are there plans to further increase the “social” portion of Spotify?

Sriram: We’ve built the best social features into Spotify for easy sharing and the ultimate in music discovery. Even if you aren’t a total music freak, chances are you have a friend who is and whose taste you admire.

Besides integration with Twitter, Tumblr and Facebook, Spotify’s Follow tab also helps users easily get music recommendations from only their most trusted musical influences. Users are not only able to follow friends, artists, celebrities and media to get updated on what they’re listening to in real time, the Follow tab also shows their Facebook friends, as well as recommends friends and trendsetters they may find interesting. Users will also be able to see who they follow and who follows their profile.

And make sure to use our Inbox feature, where you can send friends your favourite track,s albums and playlists directly to their Spotify inbox together with a friendly message.

Question: Spotify has definitely come a long way since its early days battling the likes of illegal file sharing such as Napster to one that not only encourages digital music streaming but also going “social”(social media) with it. Is the company happy with its current progress or will there be more improvements such as add-ons and app?

Sriram: It’s an incredibly exciting time at Spotify right now. We’ve come a long way as you say, moving from desktop, to mobile, and ramping up our social features to a point we’re best-in-class.

What we’re looking at now is solving discovery. Having instant access to 20m tracks is a huge step forward for music fans. Now we’re looking to solve how to help you make the most of all that fabulous content. Features such as the upcoming Discover page, which has just rolled out in Europe and the US and will coming to Asia soon, is just one of the ways we’ll be making the Spotify experience even more immersive and ‘lean back’ for users. So stay tuned!

Question: Now that Spotify is in Singapore, Malaysia and HongKong, what’s next for Spotify in Asia?

Sriram: We ultimately want Spotify to be available in every market and we’re continually working towards that aim. Right now we’re focused on offering an awesome music service available to everyone across Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong; a service that gives you access to ALL the world’s music – both local and international artists.

Thank you Sriram for your time.

© POPCulture Online 2013, All Rights Reserved.

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