Four Music and Media Insiders Share Their Thoughts on Spotify’s Launch in Nigeria

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Finally, the days of seeing, “Sorry this service is not available in your country” are behind us, as the audio streaming giant, Spotify, has launched in Nigeria and 39 other countries. We are excited and glad that we no longer have to hide behind VPNs to listen to our favorite artists and podcasts.

However, one has to wonder about the impact this development will have on the music scene in Nigeria. Of what significance is the launch of Spotify to artists and podcasters? What can they hope for now that Spotify has launched in Nigeria? There’s also the question of competition. A good number of streaming platforms already exist and a few, like Audiomack, offer a free tier. How does Spotify intend to compete with them for, although growing, the not-so-large music streaming market here, especially the subscription-based sect?

To answer our questions, we spoke to four insiders who shared their opinions with us.

On the impact of Spotify’s entry into the Nigerian market, Dolapo Amusat of We Talk Sound said:

“There are several ways to look at this but I’m inclined to think that Spotify is going to compete in the same sphere as other, mostly premium, streaming services: Apple Music, Deezer, YouTube music. That sphere of music streaming has a very small amount of users, basically, people who can afford to pay. So I don’t think that Spotify is going to, at least any time soon, reach people that are not currently streaming music. I feel that they’re coming to meet the already existing streaming audience. For the artistes, I don’t think that more people will listen to their music on streaming. I think more people will switch from platforms they’re using to Spotify. It’ll be about the same set of listeners. It’ll honestly be good to know that unlike Apple Music, Spotify has a free tier so they might be able to capture some people from the Boomplay, Audiomack sect of listeners but I don’t think it’ll bring people who are currently not paying for streaming into the paid sphere.”

Cindy Ihua- Maduenyi, talent manager of Psycho YP, believes that this issue, stated above by Dolapo, is one for Spotify, as a company, to deal with. She said,

“Them coming into the market has been a very huge risk, which I’m sure other platforms like Boomplay and Apple Music considered before coming here. We’re one of the fastest growing internet users but internet penetration is still very low. That’s why streaming numbers from here would be low compared to other countries that are plugged in. Then there’s platforms like Audiomack, which is free, so they have a large user base. When an artiste reports three million, four million streams, you find that a huge percent of that is from Audiomack. There’s also that to contend with, as even those who are connected would rather use the free streaming services.”

Her proffered solution is that Spotify “address us as an audience, to create more custom based editorial content for us to consume. They’ll have to aggressively market. ”

Meanwhile, Simi Badiru, co-founder of the podcast, F&S Uncensored believes that Spotify being in Nigeria will do wonders for an increase in listenership. She said:

“Before now, Spotify hasn’t been available in Africa, so people in Africa and Nigeria are not really listening. Spotify also has a podcast culture. There are promos and it being in Nigeria, I feel like it’s a great thing to happen to podcasts.”

Both Dolapo and Cindy share these sentiments. They both believe that podcasts are greatly advantaged because, as Dolapo notes, Spotify is big on exclusive podcast content. Cindy also says that many people
already enjoy listening to conversations. She gave an example of those who are plugged in to Clubhouse all day.

Simi however expresses reservations similar to Dolapo’s.

“I feel like internet penetration in Nigeria is really low, so we don’t really know. We can’t say if in the next few months many people will move from other platforms like Apple Music to now use Spotify. It’s something you can’t really judge because a lot of people have been using platforms like Apple Music because they don’t have access to Spotify. We’ll have to wait and see, now that there’s Spotify, how people feel about it and whether they’ll change. In terms of what we’re focusing on, the audience is the audience and most people that listen on Spotify are abroad anyway, according to the backend. I hope it increases our Nigerian numbers.”

However, Sayo Osikoya, Head of Podcasts here at Culture Custodian, is more optimistic about the whole enterprise. He said:

Podcasts are a huge part of Spotify’s strategy in other regions. Their acquisitions, their partnerships, and a huge part of how the app is laid out as well is geared at promoting podcasts. I definitely see a local audience growing; I personally swear by the Spotify algorithms and see it being impactful in suggesting relevant content to Nigerians. With regards to a growing number of podcasts, I think a huge part of why people start podcasts is because they enjoy podcasts and the barriers to entry are super low. So yes, as more Nigerians listen, more Nigerians will start podcasts, and the moment someone bags a Spotify deal? Lol. It’s a wrap, streets are getting flooded. There are bare Nigerians on YouTube because people now know blowing off YouTube is a possibility.

Again, while Cindy expressed concern for podcast content in the future, Sayo has other ideas.

It’s going to get real rough before it gets elite and I’m pointing to barriers of entry again. A lot of people are going to attempt podcasts and naturally, some would be better than others. I’m not worried about substandard content. I personally believe everyone should have a podcast, to me, a podcast is like a Twitter account. Just another outlet.

When we asked Cindy how this would impact artiste popularity, she said:

One thing we need to understand is that Spotify has been operating for a long time, so they’ve already built a name and a brand, and they a large audience in a lot of countries. So for artistes over here, you know when they say you’re trying to bridge the gap, it opens that door to the wider market. For it to operate here, for the app to be visible here, it takes you as an artiste a step closer to being visible, on a platform that’s being used by more people in the world. It has more market share around the world. It’s just a big opportunity and a bigger platform.”

Dolapo has something similar to say.

What I think this will do for artistes in Nigeria is not really in terms of affecting things locally. I think it’ll give Spotify more proximity to artistes here in Nigeria and then help artistes here export their music to foreign audiences. There’ll be more playlists better curated playlists. There’ll be more content partnership. They already started last year with things like Nigerian and African artistes featuring on Time Square’s billboard. There’ll be more things like that.

On the advantages of Spotify’s launch, Simi offers some insight.

As opposed to Apple Music that has separate apps for music and podcasts, Spotify has it all in one place. The podcasts are in your face. Podcast culture is about to skyrocket because now nobody has to go to a different app to listen to their podcasts when they can get it all in one place.

Cindy also believes that, besides its large market share, what gives Spotify an edge over other streaming platforms include things like: their playlists, features that make it easy to find new artists, and the all-around user experience. In terms of maximizing these qualities, she said that “Artistes should use and engage Spotify. They should promote direct links to their music there. They should also study their numbers there and use that to understand their audience better.”.

One thing our insiders all agree on is how Spotify will put more Nigerian artists on to the global audience. They also agree that podcasting in Nigeria is about to bloom because of Spotify’s entry into the market. Over time, we all anticipate the growth of the home-based audience but at the end of the day, the only party who’s running at risk is Spotify.