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News June 7, 2023

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek Salutes Australia’s ‘Explosive Growth’

Senior Journalist, B2B
Spotify CEO Daniel Ek Salutes Australia’s ‘Explosive Growth’

For so much of the world’s population, Australia is the great southern land, down there, far away, but a new report from Spotify reveals its music market is worth a much closer look, one with a thriving streaming business that’s punching above its weight class.

In the year 2022, as lockdowns lifted and borders reopened everywhere, revenues generated by Australian artists from Spotify topped $250 million, according to the tech giant’s annual “Loud & Clear” report.

Digital “exports” account for the lion’s share. During that period, 80% of Australian artists’ Spotify royalties were generated outside of these shores, according to the document, published today (June 7).

That figure includes overseas-based stars including Kylie Minogue, Nick Cave, AC/DC and Gang of Youths, noted Mikaela Lancaster, managing director of Spotify AUNZ, and also captures data from the likes of Keenan Te, Spacey Jane and Dom Dolla, “just some of the rising artists seeing significant growth in the last 12-24 months,” she adds.

Also, the document noted, in the years since 2018, the recorded music market has lifted 14.2%, according to IFPI data, including the sale of downloads and physical soundcarriers, while, at the same, revenue from the streaming platform has outpaced that growth five-fold – or 75%.

That growth would suggest Australians have, mostly, made the switch to streaming, and that the Spotify brand has cut through.

Spotify’s founder and CEO Daniel Ek was quick to highlight the numbers to his social media followers.

“Markets like Australia are experiencing explosive growth in music streaming revenues,” the Swedish tech entrepreneur tweeted. “More artists are breaking down geographical barriers and making their local fans proud, while also being discovered by new listeners worldwide.”

Currently, Spotify boasts a global reach of over 515 million active monthly users (and an estimated 210 million subscribers) and operates in 184 markets – with Australia coming online in 2012.

The Australian story, explained Lancaster, wasn’t an accident.

“We invest significant effort to ensure the discovery and success of artists,” Lancaster told The Music Network.

“Our efforts – including playlists, but also marketing, artist education, and in-kind support over and above substantial royalty payments – have helped Australian artists to grow.”

Spotify Australia’s editorial team curates 160 local editorial playlists that showcase Australian artists, including 24 dedicated to local artists.

In addition, noted Lancaster, the streamer has thrown its support behind emerging artist through its RADAR programme.

One example is grentperez, who, after being highlighted as a 2022 RADAR artist, saw his new release “My Heart It Beats for You” playlisted on multiple editorial playlists, “leading to thousands of new discoveries”.

Over 80% of listeners to those playlists discovered the act for the first time. Now, the United States is his No. 1 market and, says Lancaster, and to prove it, his billboard has gone live on a billboard in Times Square.


Australia slots into a global picture for Spotify which, for the first time, saw more than 10,000 artists around the globe generate upwards of $100,000 last year on the platform, with 57,000 artists accumulating $10,000-plus.

Also, some 1,060 artists generated more than $1 million on the platform last year, up from 460 in 2017.

“When taking into account earnings from other services and recorded revenue streams,” the report reads, “these artists likely generated 4x this revenue from recorded music sources overall, plus additional revenue from concert tickets and merch.”

And since its launch proper in October 2008, Spotify’s all-time payouts to music rights holders are said to be approaching $40 billion.

“Streaming is generating more revenue than ever before, and that has enabled many more artists to benefit,” Lancaster told TMN via email. Overall, she continued, “streaming is lowering the barrier to entry”.

Last month, the Spotify reported total revenues of 3 billion euros for Q1 2023, up 14% from the same period a year ago. On the same conference call, Ek hinted at raising the price of its monthly subscription plans, a situation the record industry has openly coveted for its promise of a fresh chunk of revenue at a time when the cost of living is spiraling.

In recent days, the business announced a “strategic realignment” of its podcast division, a move that would involve 200 redundancies. Spotify cut 6% of its overall headcount earlier in the year and saw the exit of Dawn Ostroff, chief content and advertising business officer, who previously headed Spotify’s podcast business, Variety reports.


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