Spotify strikes the right start-up notes

feature-kate-vale-thumbIt’s been almost two months since the much-hyped arrival of digital music service Spotify to Australian shores, as part of its global expansion.


Spotify was launched in Sweden in 2008 by Daniel Ek and Martin Lorentzon, out of a desire to develop a better, more convenient and legal alternative to music piracy.


Since then, Spotify has become the world’s largest and fastest growing music service of its kind, launching throughout Europe and the United States, as well as Australia.


At the helm of the Australian team is Kate Vale, a former Google executive, who recently paid a visit to StartupSmart.


Vale is hoping that Spotify has the same impact in Australia as it has had overseas. For example, 50% of people in Sweden use Spotify, including a stunning 97% of those aged 19.


So how did a humble Swedish start-up transform itself into a global company in just a few short years? Vale points out five key tactics used by Spotify to drive its growth.


1. Don’t underestimate cultural barriers


Vale says Australia was seen as an attractive market for Spotify because of its cultural similarities to Europe. But when it was time to launch, Australia was treated as its own entity.


“Every market is so different… Australian companies tend to underestimate cultural barriers of the US and Europe,” Vale says.


Having said that, Vale celebrates Spotify’s global successes, even if they don’t relate to Australia, because they serve as a valuable form of team bonding.


2. Assemble a team pre-launch


As soon as Vale was hired in November last year, she set about assembling a team. Vale now has people across sales, label relations, marketing, PR, business development, and the list goes on.


But rather than sit through interviews with strangers, Vale says she assembled her team via social networks and people she had worked with before.


“I think one person came through Seek,” she says.



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