"Green giant" Spotify in the battle of winning Vietnamese digital music users

By Han Sovy - May 06, 2018 | 06:11 AM GMT+7

TheLEADERSpotify, the world's largest music streaming service, plans to enter Vietnam in its own way.

"Green giant" Spotify in the battle of winning Vietnamese digital music users
Sunita Kaur, Managing Director for Spotify Asia

Talking about Spotify's success after its first month in Vietnam is still too early, but what this giant has achieved, especially its role in changing the habit of listening to free music of the Vietnamese, has shown Spotify's position among Vietnamese digital music audience.

Despite the smooth start, Spotify, as well as its competitors in Vietnam, have to cope with many challenges. The habit of listening to free music is still common. In fact, as soon as Spotify debuted in Vietnam, articles instructing users to create fake Premium accounts appeared on some forums, which had happened to Zing MP3 or NCT.

Besides, certain restrictions applied to Vietnam’s market, such as only accepting payments through Visa Credit Cards or Mastercard, not displaying song lyrics, or not supporting special music collection, also indirectly created the barriers against a large number of users.

With these opportunities and challenges, is Vietnam a piece of cake or a gamble for the "green giant" of the digital music industry? TheLEADER had an interview with Sunita Kaur, Managing Director for Spotify Asia on this issue.

On entering a new market like Vietnam, in your opinion, what are the key points that foreign businesses should pay attention to?

No matter which market we are in or looking to enter, we are constantly looking into the country’s music streaming needs and wants. Research; having proper insights and understanding of the local market is essential. This should not just be limited to the laws & regulations, but understanding the cultural nuances is also important.

We spent time researching the behaviour of Vietnamese users, apart from that we looked at ways on how we could adapt our processes to the infrastructure already in place in Vietnam.

Launching a music service takes time, and we would not rush into a market unless we are certain that what we bring to the market is relevant and legal. Before entering a market, we would like to ensure that we have everything in place. This includes having localised content (not just the app being in the local language but also having a library of local music in place), the right payment structure and partnership based on the country. We want to make sure that everything is ready for the launch. With Vietnam in mind, we had the platform localised. Available in the Vietnamese language across mobile, desktop and tablet, Spotify provides the best music to match any mood.

Could you please share something about Spotify’s expectation for Vietnam’s market and its development orientation when coming to Vietnam? Is there any difference from that in other countries or region?

Music, as we know, will always be a huge aspect of Vietnam. This is an important market for us, so we are here for the long term.

We are excited to be here in Vietnam, and one of our key goals is to battle piracy. As you know in the history of music when the world was introduced to digitalised music, piracy started to take on the industry. That has caused a negative impact on the industry and everyone working in the music industry was losing money. With that in mind, we want to encourage more music fans to move away from piracy and to a platform that is safe and legal.

We believe that Spotify is a better alternative to piracy. We work with music labels and aggregators to ensure that we can bring the music you love safely and legally. Since Spotify was launched in 2008, we have paid back more than €8 billion (as of Dec 31st, 2017) in royalties to rightsholders.

How do you evaluate the competitiveness of local digital music companies against foreign competitors?

We feel it is not our place to speak about other services, as that's purely for music fans to decide! We are laser-focused on building the best possible music service we can and helping people discover and enjoy more music than ever before.

We are certainly excited to be here in Vietnam. With us finally here, we are hoping to help improve the Vietnamese music industry. We want our mission to be a reality here in Vietnam; we want to ensure that music fans are enjoying music through a legal and safe manner.

How are Vietnamese songs developed on Spotify?

There is great potential here in Vietnam, and we are truly excited to be here to contribute to the music streaming industry. We will continue adding artists, songs, and curating playlists that would resonate with the users here in Vietnam.

As a platform that is committed to the music industry, we want to ensure that everything we do is benefiting the music industry. Artists need to work with a music label or an aggregator to have their music uploaded to Spotify. With that partnership in place, and to ensure that everything is transparent from an artist perspective, we have a dedicated portal called Spotify for Artists. Through Spotify for Artists, artists would be able to access a dashboard which will be able to help them understand where their music is being streamed and by whom.

Apple Music has been in Vietnam for a few years now and attracted many users. As a renowned global music service which has just entered Vietnam and has to face a strong competitor like Apple Music, how do you evaluate Spotify’s potentials and challenges, and what will Spotify do to secure its position and win users?

We have been at this for over ten years, and we are in a unique position to deliver a music experience that is more intuitive and personal. We have a robust library with over 35 million songs and over 2 billion playlists to choose from; you would be able to pick out your favourite songs or playlists to represent a specific moment in your life.

Apart from that, we can personalise users’ music experience based on their listening habits. This is why we have introduced various features such as Discover Weekly, Release Radar, Fresh Finds and Daily Mix. Each of these features will be tailored to your listening habits. Each of these features will be tailored to your listening habits.  

Thank you very much!