It appears that one of the most requested streaming services is finally hitting the pearl of the Indian ocean. A few days ago, fans noticed a peculiar, verified Facebook page that indicated Spotify might, at last, be available for Sri Lankans. Spotify Sri Lanka currently has verified pages both on Facebook as well as on Instagram.
The company has not come out officially to announce anything yet. However, the last and only update on the company’s social media pages has been on the 6th of October. That might mean we’re likely to see more details in the coming months. Last year, the service launched in India and it already amassed over a million users. So, it makes sense Sri Lanka might be next on the list.
You’re probably asking yourself what the big deal is? Technically, you could still access Spotify in Sri Lanka via the VPN route. But an official Spotify Sri Lanka presence reflects well for music lovers in Sri Lanka. For starters, you might no longer need to go through the hassle of accessing Spotify on VPN every 15 days or so. More importantly, it means that dedicated support service, better pricing and even possibly exclusive music is on the cards.
What we can expect from Spotify
A few tweets from user @CrazyNalin, which were confirmed by Artist Raini Gunathilake, suggests that Spotify is expected to officially launch in Sri Lanka in mid-January 2021. He went on to mention that the service will follow a regional pricing strategy, likely for all of its existing plans. What this means is that this may end up being a few dollars cheaper once Spotify Sri Lanka is an actual thing. Other online services like the Steam store and Deezer already employ this.
Right now, Spotify Premium costs less than $2 per month in India as opposed to the usual $9.99 per month pricing in the US. Sri Lanka might get the same cheap offering. The added benefit with the pricing is that not only will users get access to a massive music library, but exclusive podcasts as well.
It doesn’t end there though. Spotify has been in talks with a few local artists and record labels hoping to collaborate and get local content on the platform to draw the crowds. Already, Serandip Records has announced that it’s become the 1st verified Sri Lankan label on Spotify. Depending on how these discussions progress, it potentially would give further incentive for listeners to adopt the platform. It would also mean that in the future, Sri Lankan musicians will have another option of music distribution beyond YouTube and traditional media.
Currently, it appears that Spotify is working on things behind the scenes. Artist Raini Gunathilake while confirming that Spotify Sri Lanka is happening also shared on Twitter that discussions are underway regarding matters like monetization. Spotify has been notorious when it comes to artist compensation. It’s a big enough talking point that it has its own Wikipedia page.
This becomes a more significant concern for artists in smaller markets like Sri Lanka. Even though platforms like YouTube garners millions of visitors regularly, the numbers fall nowhere near this figure for streaming music. This directly attributes to the compensation factor for local musicians when it comes to streaming services.
Settling on a monetization structure that works for the platform as well as the artists is important. If not, there will be far less incentive for Sri Lankan musicians to prioritise streaming services. That would be a loss for both artists and us, the users.
Should the launch come to fruition, it could also mean that the Spotify team in India or elsewhere in the region may manage the support service for Sri Lanka. This is usually the case with most international tech services. While it’s highly unlikely that it will become an Uber Sri Lanka-level situation, a lack of a dedicated local support service might not be the ideal situation moving forward.
Nevertheless, this is exciting news for any music lover. Considering how 2020 has been going so far for many of us, we could do with some good news. A mid-January launch would mean that Spotify should ideally make things officially very soon. But for now, it looks like we will have to wait just a little bit longer.