From aptly named playlist, Hazed & Confused (a pun on the Singapore haze season) to We Are Singapore (dedicated to Singapore’s National Day), Spotify has become quite the cornerstone of the local music scene – and to think we probably would not have fathomed as such, five years ago!
Introduced to Singapore in 2013, Spotify came to be quite the fanfare of many – mostly as it was one of the first of its kind in new age music streaming services to enter the Southeast Asian region. Starting out with a small set of music in its digital catalogue, it is worth noting that Spotify took lengths to onboard much of the local musicians quickly onto its platform, and it is probably the main reason why local artists are getting more exposure than ever before.
As part of the recent anniversary celebrations at Zouk Singapore (alongside the feature of local musical stars, such as The Sam Willows), Spotify organised Spotify Talks: a thought leadership session exploring the current state of music streaming. The panellists consisted of dedicated local musicians: Evanturetime, Charlie Lim, and Jasmine Sokko – who shared their thoughts on the local music streaming industry.
In general, the consensus was that music streaming platforms have disrupted the concept of “mainstream” music: in today’s world, it is the music fans who are dictating the way the music industry evolves. As the panellists have pointed out, fans of certain genres have taken it upon themselves to seek out and explore new music themselves, as opposed to waiting for the conventionally curated ‘Top 50s’ lists to break anymore.
This is reflected in Singapore’s evolution of music streaming. According to music streaming statistics collected by Spotify, we have moved from streaming the latest hits, to exploring the genres of K-Pop, Mandopop, EDM, and even Jazz (finally!). The stats are even more staggering when you take into account that Singaporeans have streamed more than 1.7 billion hours of K-Pop tracks, and over 310 million hours of Mandopop alone!
Delving into the topic of piracy, Spotify billed itself as a better and simpler alternative, as the platform managed to redirect piracy issues into a major source of music revenue for both Spotify and its musicians. In fact, our panellists took a bit of a nostalgic journey reflecting upon illegal music downloading back in their youths, when the likes of Limewire and Napster took the music piracy thrones.
Nonetheless, seeing how Spotify has grown is quite comforting in itself. With its humble beginnings of introducing “Discover Weekly” playlists that are curated according to data collected on your music listening habits, Spotify has fostered music discovery by connecting new listeners to artists regardless of where they are; Linying being a good example of transcending geographical borders, as she has established fanbases in countries such as France and Germany. Spotify’s recent feature of sharing your latest earworms or guilty pleasures to Instagram Stories is another nifty touch to allow users to engage and connect with their friends – gone are the days when you had to use the iOS Screen Record function!
While Spotify Premium’s monthly rates are pretty competitive as it is – with a new design on its mobile app, Free on Spotify now includes a number of new features to make the listening experience more tailored to what users need to hear, which is just as great!
As part of the celebrations, Spotify has introduced a “Spotify Turns 5” hub. Hit play on the Top Streamed Tracks and Top Streamed Singaporean Artists (below) playlists – check out how much Spotify has become part of our local music scene, as you find out which local acts have earned their rightful attention and which playlists have been earworms to your fellow Singaporeans.
Photos by Arthur Keng of the DANAMIC Team. Visuals courtesy of Spotify Asia.