Today, Spotify is one of the few companies that still has a direct connection to its customers during the almost global lockdown in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, the company has reported an increase in streaming of certain music and content.
According to Spotify’s listener data in March, more people are listening to Joe ‘Tiger King’ Exotic’s music. More content classed as Family is being streamed as people spend time at home with their children. And yes, Don’t Stand So Close to Me by The Police has seen a 125 per cent increase in streams.
But back in 2018, the company was looking at some decidedly different data as it planned its next expansion: the musical interests of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).
Spotify’s localisation challenges
Spotify’s move into MENA area saw the company confront some major challenges in terms of localisation.
The area is incredibly diverse when it comes to culture, wealth and, of course, language. But Spotify tackled all of this and more in a long-term strategy designed to secure its place in this new market.
In so doing, it left a few lessons for other companies that are considering expanding.
1. It’s all in the details
Speaking to Music Ally at the time of the expansion, Spotify’s Middle East and Africa MD Claudius Boller said: “We’re fully aware of the differences between the various regions in MENA, but also within each country: you have so many different cultures and dialects. We have localised and customised the Spotify experience to a very detailed level.”
Spotify didn’t just look at individual countries when it came to localisation; it got down to demographics, too. For example, they took note of the particularly high number of young people in the region, then tailored the platform’s communication and content to them.
2. Know your market
Spotify had more than just a language barrier to overcome. Piracy and illegal downloads are still major issues in MENA. But the company saw an opportunity to tackle this.
“There is still piracy going on here, including stream-ripping and [illegal] downloading,” the company’s directors said.
“The market is hoping for a second ‘Latin American effect’, where free music streaming services provide an alternative to piracy, and create a larger [legal] market.”
For companies considering global expansion today, take heart from Spotify’s confidence and look at how your business can provide something better than what is currently available.
Just be sure to bring in the language translation services you need to communicate the improvements to your new audience.
3. Work with experts
The final lesson from Spotify? Know your limits and work with experts in the local area.
Michael Krause, EMEA MD of Spotify, told the music publication: “We have to respect the local sensitivities. We have our own editorial team; we hire people who know this region very well.”
MENA has a particularly high level of religious sensitivity. But other areas have their own local customs, trends and cultures that any business needs to consider.
It’s too much to expect your central team to have this knowledge.
But with the help of local experts, including language translation providers, you can break into a new market and connect directly with a huge new audience—anywhere in the world.
Bubbles work with local language translation experts around the globe. Contact the Bubbles Translation team today to find out how we can help with your project.