Over the years, streaming services have increasingly become available in South Africa - including companies and services like Netflix, Google Music, Deezer, and Apple Music. However, the largest of the bunch, Spotify, has remained glaringly absent from the African market over the years.
Spotify has now officially addressed this absence by launching in South Africa, with the aim to spread to others countries in the region in the coming years.
Michael Krause, Spotify Managing Director for the EMEA region, told Forbes in an interview, that the company was elated to have returned to the "home continent of music historically". The premium service launched at ZAR59.99 (around $5) per month, with it matching prices set by competitors like Apple Music.
According to Krause, Spotify is "well-positioned" for the market overall after the company reportedly discussed its pricing with music labels. It will also feature a free version of the service, that will play three minutes of advertising after every hour of music consumed.
Spotify, which is being used by over 159 million users worldwide, has faced fierce competition from the likes of Apple, which analysts predict will eclipse the former in the United States. French music-streaming service Deezer has made a name for itself in smaller markets that bigger players traditionally ignored, boasting nine million paying subscribers up to September 2017 according to Statista. However, with the market clearly heating up, it remains to be seen who will win out in South Africa - and other countries in the block.
The company has also reportedly started hiring again to expand its hardware segment. With dedicated smart-speakers taking the world by storm - currently dominated by the likes of Amazon - it isn't beyond the realm of possibility to see a dedicated Spotify speaker going on sale. Beyond that, Spotify also aims to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange by April 2 this year.
Spotify is available to download right now on all platforms, including Xbox One and PlayStation 4 in South Africa. Krause pointed to other 'obvious' countries in the region, including Kenya, Nigeria - the largest African economy -, Ghana, and others, getting an official launch as well, by the end of this year.