The Spotify Interview With Kate Vale and Rene Chambers

22 May 2012 | 4:16 pm | Scott Fitzsimons

Kate Vale and Renee Chambers talk about the launch of Spotify to

In a move that has shaken up the music streaming market, Spotify finally launched into the Australian and New Zealand markets this morning.

One of the Stockholm-based company's biggest selling points is its free ad-supported format, which gives consumers complete access to its 16 million strong song library. There are paid models that get rid of the ads, increase the sound quality, and allow device syncing, but the majority of users will enter the streaming model at its free level.

Today's launch comes after similar services like Rdio, rara, JB Hi-Fi NOW, and Sony's Music Unlimited have launched, but speaking to at the company's Sydney offices today, Managing Director For Spotify Australia And New Zealand Kate Vale said that missing that first jump was worth getting a complete catalogue.

"In any market we launch in, we want to make sure that we've got the best possible catalogue we can, so that takes time. Also Renee [Chambers, Label Relations at Spotify] was working tirelessly on content ingestion, so making sure we were getting everything from the labels to ingest into the system as well.

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"We wanted to make sure that we launched with a complete catalogue, otherwise it's not good."

The launch had been rumoured and speculated about for months and while Vale was hesitant to reveal exactly what it was they were waiting for, one factor she mentioned was launching with a local app partner, which they have done in the form of triple j today.

She also enjoyed letting a 'buzz'  build around speculation. "We don't want to ruin a surprise, today's been great! There's been a lot of talk in the social sphere about us launching and we love that."

Today's launch comes with all four major labels on board, and a majority of indie labels. In February was leaked an email regarding ongoing negotiations between a major label and Spotify, but today Chambers and Vale did not want to comment on how long the Australian and New Zealand negotations had taken.

They did say that negotiations for each country are done separately, and admitted that this launch does not mean an imminent branch-out into Asia for Spotify, as has been speculated.

"We don't comment specifically on country-by-country negotiations," Vale said, "but they do need be done at an individual country level and by no means does that mean that Asia-Pacific is going to be easier for us. Each country has its own specific needs and nuances. So, yes we are the first market in the Asia pack, but I don't think it's going to make a difference.

"From an internal perspective we have to look at what's a priority for us, we've got a small licensing team... Australia is an important market for us, given we're the six biggest music market in the world."

"I think there was probably a few people that didn't realise we were launching today and we've had quite a few phone calls and emails from people who we've either reached out to in the past or just weren't aware of us being here."

Chambers told us that there are "a number" of local apps under development. "It's too early to comment on them to be perfectly honest," she said, but admitted that, "we do think ARIA would be a good one."

Today ARIA CEO Dan Rosen confirmed to that an ARIA app will be launched on the platform in the coming weeks.

"In a digital world where access is key, it is important that music fans are able to find, share, and listen to the ARIA Charts in a variety of different ways. We feel Spotify is a wonderful platform from which to do this," he said. 

"ARIA will be launching its very own app on Spotify in the coming weeks, where music fans can access the ARIA Charts each week, including the Top 20 Australian Singles and Albums Charts."

Rosen also indicated that ARIA intends to roll out a streaming chart later this year.

"As streaming services enter the local market, we are working with the providers to get the data necessary to begin producing a weekly Streaming Chart," he said. "As the year progresses, we look forward to an official streaming chart joining our extensive list of weekly ARIA Charts."

Spotify will be supportive of a such a chart.

"We were very much on board with the OCC [Official Chart Company] streaming chart launch recently in the UK," Chambers said. "We're a very data-driven company and we're willing and able to provide data to ARIA."

As a side note, we asked what the Vale's been listening too on launch day. "I was listening to The Pointer Sisters' I'm So Excited, but I've been listening to Florence [+ The Machine] as well, because I'm going to see her on Friday."

While Chambers replied, "I'm going to see Prince tonight and I'm massively excited, so I've been listening to Prince."