Spotify is expanding to 85 new markets including Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bhutan in the coming days, taking its geographical footprint to around 178 countries across the world. Prior to this rollout, Spotify was present in 93 markets including India.

The audio streaming platform said it will offer the standard free and premium plans in these countries, with a full range of premium plans (Student, Individual, Duo and Family) available in select markets. The firm said it will give users access to its full global music catalogue in these markets along with its podcast catalogue in the majority of these markets.

Spotify is also making its service available in 36 new languages including Hindi and now supports more than 60 languages, said Spotify’s chief freemium business officer Alex Norstrom during a virtual event on Monday.

Monetising podcasts

During the event, Spotify unveiled an audio advertising marketplace called Spotify Audience Network, which will enable advertisers to reach listeners across Spotify’s own original and exclusive podcasts, as well as podcasts through Anchor and its recent acquisition Megaphone, and ad-supported music.

“We’ll leverage our state of the art technology to give advertisers the ability to reach and target our audience of hundreds of millions – at scale – both on and off Spotify,” said Spotify’s chief content and advertising business officer Dawn Ostroff.

The company, however, didn’t disclose specific details on this marketplace, saying they are still “in the early stages of developing this offering” and expects to share more details in the coming months.

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Spotify is also expanding its self-serve ad platform Spotify Ad Studio to include podcasts, starting with its original and exclusive podcasts in the United States. It plans to extend this to third-party podcasts in the future. Also on the cards is making the streaming ad insertion technology available to Megaphone podcast publishers and leading Anchor creators.

The Swedish streaming service has been pushing podcasts over the past year or so, and it now claims to host around 2.2 million podcasts. Earlier this month, Spotify had said that about 25% of its 345 million monthly active users engaged with podcast content in the quarter ended December compared to 22% in the previous quarter.

In India, Spotify competes with players like Times Internet’s Gaana*, Reliance Industries-owned JioSaavn, YouTube Music, Amazon Prime Music, ByteDance’s Resso, and Hungama. Gaana is currently the market leader with more than 185 million monthly active users in India.

New creator tools

On Monday, Spotify also released a slew of new tools for podcast creators to help develop interactive shows.

Anchor is
partnering with WordPress to help bloggers publish their written content as a podcast in a few clicks. In the coming months, Spotify will start testing the ability for creators to add videos to their podcasts when they publish via Anchor, while also making a broader rollout of its interactivity features like Polls and Q&A for these creators. The feature is currently being tested with a select beta group of creators.

“In the next few months, we will be kicking off a limited beta in the US via Anchor, giving creators the opportunity to publish paid podcast content on Spotify for their most dedicated fans,” said Spotify’s head of Podcaster Mission and Anchor co-founder Michael Mignano.

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Apart from this, Spotify said it will be rolling out a new subscription offering Spotify HiFi in select markets later this year. The company said the service will deliver music in CD-quality, lossless audio format to user’s devices and Spotify Connect-enabled speakers.

New shows

Spotify unveiled a new eight-episode series featuring former US president Barack Obama and rock star Bruce Springsteen called “Renegades: Born in the USA”, produced by Barack and Michelle Obama’s production firm Higher Ground. The first two episodes of the show are currently available on the service.

The company also announced a multi-year deal with Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame directors Anthony and Joe Russo and their entertainment firm AGBO to produce a series of shows, without disclosing any further details.

*Disclosure: Times Internet owns ETtech





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