Sunita Kaur, managing director, Asia from Spotify joined us for a conversation to discuss the music streaming service and its footprint in Asia. We discuss the current state of Spotify and its value proposition to the customers and the artistes, the specific challenges that Spotify faced to expand their footprint in Asia, and how the service has to localise and customise their service for the Asian markets from Japan to Hong Kong. Last but not least, we reflected on how digital media has evolved over the past decade and why digital text, audio and video content have evolved differently with different business models.

Here are the interesting show notes and links to the discussion (with timestamps included):

  • Introduction to Sunita Kaur, managing director, Asia for Spotify (LinkedIn)

    • How did she get started in the digital media space, coming from a printed media background? [0:54]
    • From her past roles in Forbes, Microsoft and Facebook, how have those experiences shaped her as a leader? What are the career lessons she drawn from those experiences? [1:50]
    • How did she end up in joining Spotify as managing director for Spotify Asia and lead the expansion of the company in Asia? [2:50]
  • Spotify in Asia [3:40]

    • Spotify (Crunchbase) – a music streaming service founded in Stockholm by Daniel Ek & Martin Lorentzon and expanded to US and Asia, US$1.1B from investors (Founders’ Fund, KPCB, DST Global, Accel, Goldman Sachs).
    • A brief introduction on Spotify and what is its mission? [4:10]
    • How do consumers access on Spotify? [5:20]
    • What are the specific challenges pertaining to expanding Spotify in Asia? [5:42]

      • Dealing with music piracy in markets
      • Different competing services in the market, for example streaming vs paying for downloads in iTunes. Differences between how millenials are consuming music as compared to the older generation. In Asia, on each spotify user listens to on average 160 minutes per day. [7:00]
      • Asia is a mobile first world, are all the efforts focused on improving the mobile experience for users? In Philippines, the mobile vs desktop usage is 80:20. [9:11]
      • Spotify Running [11:20]
    • Any interesting aspects to share on the Spotify story in Asia, for example, number of songs on its database, user numbers or growth or conversion to the subscription model for users? [11:52]
    • Which countries has Spotify extended its presence in Asia? [12:20]
    • How do Spotify localise and customise the music service for different cultures, for example, in Hong Kong and Japan? [13:06]
    • What is the value proposition for Spotify for artists and how do Spotify convey the opportunity to them? [14:42]
    • The podcasting phenomenon is now growing in the US and Spotify has opened its service for that market, and any chance for a podcaster in Asia to get themselves feature on Spotify? [16:42]
  • Trends in digital media and Women in Leadership
    • What are the major trends you observe in digital media in the past year? For example, the shift towards native advertising and also how younger people consume music preferring streaming to ownership of music. Is there a shift towards native advertising? How do you see subscription models in content moving towards? For example, print media are having major challenges in getting users to get content thru paywalls. [17:40]
    • What is Sunita’s advice for women in leadership and management and how has her perspectives changed as her career progressed? [20:18]

Podcast Information:

The show is hosted by Bernard Leong (@bleongcw) and are sponsored by Ideal Workspace (Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn)  with their new Aspirus Desk (Twitter and Facebook) and Linkcious (and check out their other product, Chiibi). Also check out Ideal Workspace’s new standing desk, Aspirus and sign up for their mailing list.

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