Spotify Reportedly Revisiting Plans for Russian Launch
Two years after pressing the breaks on a Russian launch, streaming leader Spotify is reportedly looking into giving it another try in the country.
Spotify, which closed its Russian office in 2015 and canceled plans to launch in the country, may be reconsidering its strategy in the country, local business paper Vedomosti has reported.
The report quotes several unnamed sources at Russian labels and media companies as saying that Spotify is mulling a second attempt to launch in Russia, taking into account the large size of the market and its significant potential for growth.
A spokesperson for Spotify declined to comment on the report.
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In 2014, Spotify registered a Russian company, which still shows as active in the SPARK-Interfax data base, and spent most part of the year preparing for launch, tentatively scheduled for the first half of 2015. However, in February 2015, the company backed off, closed the local office and fired its head Alexander Kubaneishvili.
The company did not explain its reasons for the move, but the Russian news service RBC quoted a source close to Spotify as saying that the main reasons for canceling the Russian launch were the slumping economy and a new personal-data law, which was to come into effect in Russia on September. 1, 2015.
Under the law, Russians’ personal data have to be stored in Russia only, and Spotify, as a cloud service, reportedly was not sure how to comply with the regulation.
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Meanwhile, Russia’s digital music market defied expectations and grew by 11 percent to $30.4 million in 2015, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers.
The main players in Russia’s streaming segment are Apple Music, the ailing Australian company Guvera and local services Yandex.Music, a division of the “Russian Google,” Yandex, and Zvooq, backed by the retailer Ulmart.