The Web music streaming service Spotify became available to users in Taiwan yesterday as part of a plan to expand into Asia amid competition from bigger companies.
The Stockholm-based company, which has about 24 million active users and 6 million paid subscribers worldwide, is offering free, on-demand music for general users in Taiwan and an ad-free premium service at a cost of NT$149 (US$5) a month.
Taiwan is Spotify’s fourth Asian market after it became available to users in Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia in April.
The company plans to expand into other regional markets by the end of the year, Spotify Asia operations director Sunita Kaur said.
“We know Taiwan is the center of Mandarin pop, so it makes perfect sense for us to come here,” Kaur said at the launch.
It is likely to take three to six months for the pay service to become popular in Taiwan, Kaur said.
Launched in 2008, Spotify provides its services in 32 countries.
The on-demand music sector has gained popularity among smartphone users and has attracted the interest of global technology giants such as Amazon.com Inc, Google Inc and Apple Inc.
Robin Lee, director of the Recording Industry Foundation in Taiwan, said that the nation’s music industry has contracted sharply from NT$15 billion in 1997 to less than NT$2 billion last year.
Digital music accounted for only 27 percent of Taiwan’s music output value last year, compared with the global average of 35 percent, Lee said.
He urged Taiwanese to use legal streaming music services rather than downloading pirated songs.