Spotify appoints first local employee to fuel expansion

Digital music-streaming service Spotify has appointed former Google executive Kate Vale as its first Australian employee, as the company continues its rapid expansion throughout the world.


Spotify was founded in Sweden by Daniel Ek, former chief technology officer of kids’ browser game Stardoll, and Martin Lorentzon, co-founder of internet marketing company TradeDoubler.


The company, which launched in 2006 and is now based in United Kingdom, offers streaming of selected music from a range of record labels including Sony, EMI and Warner Music Group.


Spotify charges a low monthly fee for unlimited access to a catalogue of 15 million songs. The application was launched for public access in October 2008, enjoying instant popularity.


In February 2010, Spotify received a small investment from The Founder Fund, a San Francisco-based venture capital firm led by Facebook founding president Sean Parker.


In June this year, it was reported that Spotify had secured an additional $100 million in funding, which it planned to use for its launch into the United States.


In addition to the US, the Spotify service is available in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.


Now Australia has been added to the list.


Yesterday, StartupSmart received an email from Spotify PR manager Sally Whatley confirming the company has appointed former Google executive Kate Vale as its first Australian employee.


According to Vale’s LinkedIn profile, Vale is already in place as sales director for Australia and New Zealand, and is looking to recruit more sales staff.


Value was previously head of YouTube in Australia and New Zealand, and head of sales and operations at Google Australia and New Zealand.


She is also listed on LinkedIn as a director at Loopster Media, which helps brands manage their Facebook profiles.


Whatley says Spotify is in the process of recruiting staff to form Vale’s team, although no other details were given.


“Spotify’s long-term aim is to be available in every country. We don’t have any news to share regarding a launch in Australia at this stage, but watch this space,” she said.


The company is believed to be negotiating deals with carriers and ISPs this month.

As Spotify continues to enter new markets, suggestions have been raised about how the company will maintain the interest of its growing user base.


Spotify says it will unveil its “latest major development” at a conference on November 30 as it heads in a “new direction”, with reports suggesting a video-streaming service is on the cards.


“Spotify might be planning to launch a video-streaming service to rival the music video traffic currently being lapped up by YouTube,” wrote UK gadget news site Electricpig.


Meanwhile, tech blog VentureBeat predicts the launch of a Spotify music store, “with plenty of integration on Facebook”.


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