Michael Abbattista, the global head of telco partnerships at Spotify, spoke on Day Three of the Broadband World Forum. At the show we spoke to him about Spotify’s recent telco partnerships and the importance of fast connectivity to the service.
You’ve recently made a high profile partnership with Vodafone in the UK as part of its 4G push. Do you think that this sort of match-up is a perfect way to sell the concept of music streaming and the benefits of 4G?
Absolutely. Firstly, telco partnerships make perfect sense for both us and the partner, as they give Spotify the opportunity to reach a new audience, via inclusion in marketing communications from the telco partner. And for the telco partner, they can add genuine value and appeal to their bundles by including Spotify in a package. When you layer 4G over that, adding Spotify as a proof point for the speed and superior quality of 4G it makes perfect sense. It’s a great message for the consumer.
The irony of matching up 4G and music streaming is that people are starting to hit download limits that often weren’t in place with unlimited 3G services. Do you think this will actually put people of using music streaming, or rushing to move to 4G?
In many of our telco partnership bundles and data usage for music streaming is zero rated anyway so this isn’t an issue. But no I don’t think this is a concern. Spotify actually uses very little data, but for those who wish to minimise data usage we recommend you to sync your playlists to offline mode while you are connected to Wi-Fi and then you can enjoy your music while offline.
Aside from the data bucket limit issue, could you foresee faster connectivity ushering in demand for uncompressed music streaming?
Potentially. Spotify currently streams at rates of up to 320kbps and our research has shown that level of sound quality is resonating with users.
Do you think that carrier billing for services such as Spotify is something that customers want?
Yes absolutely. Carrier billing makes it much simpler for customers to consolidate their direct debits for their media subscriptions.
As a music streaming company you must be keen for connectivity to become more ubiquitous to increase your potential reach. Is there any frustration in the slow pace of roll outs of faster speeds to some areas in all parts of the worlds – and does Spotify ever get involved in lobbying for improved services?
Spotify arguably would not exist today if it were not for the extremely fast broadband speeds in Sweden, which led to substantial rates of piracy, and subsequently Spotify’s invention. Naturally we are therefore extremely keen to have the best possible connectivity available so that people can enjoy the best possible Spotify service.
People naturally want access to music in their cars. What progress are you seeing in the connected car space?
We have already announced integrations with Ford and Volvo who now offer integrations with Spotify in the car. We expect to see more of these partnerships with Spotify and other music services, as the car becomes the next truly connected space.