Spotify launches in Pakistan

Spotify, the world’s leading music streaming service has launched in Pakistan, it announced in a statement today to MENAbytes. It is one of the over 80 new markets where Spotify is launching its service this month. The rumors of company’s expansion to Pakistan had first surfaced online in November 2020 after it had created a verified Instagram page.

The newly launched service is available for free through iOS and Android apps, and the users have the option to upgrade to to Spotify Premium to have ad-free access, and other features including the ability to download music and skip unlimited songs. It is priced at PKR 299 (~$1.9) per month. Spotify is also offering a premium family subscription plan for PKR 479 ($3) per month that can be used by six family members “living under one roof” and another plan priced at PKR 390 ($2.45) for two people living at the same address. At PKR 149 per month (about 95 cents), the cheapest subscription option is avaialble only for university students.

In addition to cards, the users that have Telenor or Zong as their mobile operator can also pay for the subscription using their mobile credit (or bill).

In a statement, the company said that its catalog includes over 70 million tracks of local and international music. The app already features different playlists made for Pakistan (that will be regularly updated) including Hot Hits Pakistan, Pakistani Rock Hits, Pakistani Indie 101, Drama OSTs, Loadshedding Longing, and more.

Claudius Boller, the Managing Direct for Spotify Middle East & Africa is leading the team of music and audio experts for the newly launched South Asian markets inlcuding Pakistan. Commenting on the launch, he said, “We want to share the gift of music with as many people as possible to enrich the lives of not only our listeners, but the local artists who will now have access to a global audience. We always want to be where our fans are, and with this expansion we are furthering our mission of sharing the sounds of Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka with the rest of the world.”

Unlike the Middle East, music streaming hasn’t taken off in Pakistan yet. Patari is the only notable local player in the space. Its CEO Zarlasht Faisal labeled Spotify’s arrival in Pakistan ‘exciting’.

“We’ve always believed that Pakistani music streaming has huge potential. Spotify entering the market is a validation of that. Music streaming as a vertical has been underfunded in Pakistan. With an endorsement of its potential by a player like Spotify, we believe it will mean more risk appetite and investment in this sector and continuous development of an ecosystem that will streamline music distribution, monetization, and opportunities for local music and audio,” stated Zarlasht in a conversation with MENAbytes.

Zubair Naeem Paracha
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