Spotify Expands Into Six More Countries — Including Venezuela, Iraq, Libya, and Tajikistan

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A nature photo captured in Tajikistan, where Spotify recently debuted. Photo Credit: EJ Wolfson

Back in February, as part of its Stream On event, Spotify unveiled plans to debut in over 80 more countries, including Cambodia and Uganda. Now, the Stockholm-based platform has officially arrived in another six markets: Iraq, Libya, Tajikistan, Venezuela, Republic of the Congo, and Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Spotify execs just recently revealed their business’s expansion, which comes as competing streaming services (and the major labels) are moving to establish footholds in quick-growing music markets. This latest buildout encompasses both Spotify’s paid and ad-supported versions – a point that’s worth noting, for the service launched in South Korea without a free tier – and ups the platform’s reach to about 184 countries, factoring based upon the updated list on Spotify’s website.

The six newest nations to receive access to Spotify have a combined population of over 180 million individuals, factoring this time based upon the latest-available data and estimates – 40.22 million persons in Iraq, 6.87 million in Libya, 9.54 million in Tajikistan, 28.44 million in Venezuela, 5.52 million in Republic of the Congo, and 89.56 million in Democratic Republic of the Congo.

It also bears reiterating that the monthly cost of a Spotify subscription varies based upon one’s country of residence. In Venezuela, for instance, the service’s ad-free iteration will set users back $5.99 per month, compared to $4.99 per month in Tajikistan, approximately $3.09 (4,500 IQD) in Iraq, and $2.99 per month in Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Libya.

Regarding the aforementioned efforts of streaming services to reach users in emerging music markets, Apple Music in April of 2020 expanded into 52 more nations (Morocco and Cameroon among them), whereas Deezer in March of 2021 slashed its prices in Nigeria and Kenya. (Deezer remains available in a few countries that Spotify and Apple Music have yet to arrive in, including Afghanistan, population 38.93 million.)

Additionally, regional platforms – which are proving difficult for Spotify and others to overtake in certain states – have carved out meaningful market presences of their own, with Boomplay and Anghami making headlines in 2021.

On the label side, Universal Music last year rolled out Def Jam Africa, while Warner Music in September of this year acquired South Africa’s Coleske. Warner has also invested a reported $200 million in Arab heavyweight Rotana Music in 2021, while Sony Music, setting its sights on Brazil’s streaming-driven music space, dropped $250 million to acquire Som Livre in April.

Lastly, Warner Music through this year’s first 11 months has established Atlantic Records Russia, debuted Asia-based hip-hop label Asiatic Records (as well as Pan-Asian dance label Whet Records), and scored a distribution-focused pact with Saigon’s Yin Yang Media.