Vodafone's Red 4G-ready plans are here, and there's a Spotify Premium membership up for grabs with all of them. But why is #4Gmusic a match made in heaven?
In case you’ve not heard the news (where’ve you been?!), the Vodafone Red 4G-ready plans are out in the wild. What sets them apart, though, is near boundless music and sports from Spotify and Sky Sports Mobile TV as part of the deal.
To mark the launch, we’ve been talking to Spotify’s Michael ‘Abba’ Abbattista, to find out why #4GMusic is such a great partnership, why mobile is so important to Spotify, and how Spotify is changing the way we listen to music…
A match made in heaven
“Partnering with Vodafone for 4G is great because it’s a much easier and safer way for you to get music on your mobile phone,” says Abba. “ It’s like; ‘here’s your 4G plan, here’s your device, here’s your entertainment’.”
Abba tells us that mobile is such a huge part of Spotify’s DNA that the company now sees it as priority number one:
“People are using their phones in more and more ways, and, more specifically, using their phones as their main music device. Getting Spotify on computers was obviously very important for us in the beginning, and it still is, but as more and more people get smartphones and 4G plans, more people are discovering us through mobile. They’re signing up and using Spotify on their phones.
“It’s just the way everything’s going. Spotify is a mobile-first company. More and more people are finding us through mobile. And since people use Spotify on mobile in huge numbers, getting together with Vodafone is just an obvious fit. It’s only going to be a bigger and bigger channel for us.
“More people, especially people who have a Spotify Premium subscription, are using it on their phones or tablets rather than on desktops.”
The future with 4G
Ok, so music and mobile are a bit of a dream team, but how does 4G factor in?
“4G is one more improvement in the whole process here,” Abba explains. “First there was the dawn of apps, which meant you could offer the same service across a range of devices.
“Now we’re seeing improvements in the network where everything becomes really seamless. Whether you’re playing a song through Wi-Fi or 4G, people aren’t having those interruptions which might have been typical several years ago.”
“If you’re a customer, your confidence is much better when you know your network is going to cope and there aren’t going to be any quality issues.”
That’s great news for when you’re out and about, especially as Spotify streams music at market-leading quality: “We stream music at 320Kbps, which is the highest of the streaming services. I’m not sure how much higher we’d be able to go than that! At 320Kbps, we don’t get complaints about the quality of our streaming.
“Our phones are becoming our computers, our music players and our TV screens, so the Vodafone and Spotify Premium deal really stands out.”
So, with over 20 million songs in Spotify’s library, all available to stream through your phone and at your fingertips 24/7, are we listening to music in a different way? We quizzed Abba on what his feeling is towards listening habits in 2013:
“If people have access to more music, they’ll listen to more music,” he says. “I think that there’s probably a lot more snacking going on. From listening to customer feedback over the years, it seems that people now are more likely to listen to one song from this artist and another from that artist, as opposed to listening to full albums at a time.
“With all that music at your fingertips, people are more inclined to try things out.”
“With all that music at your fingertips, people are more inclined to try things out and then ‘check out’ just as quickly if it’s not something that grabs them. We’re all definitely listening to more music when we’re out and about than we did before, because so much is available. Once people realise they can do this, they’ll use it more.”
And, as we found out, that’s key to the company’s success:
“People don’t sign up and then not use it,” Abba tells us. “The more time people invest in making playlists, the more they see the value in it and the more they’ll stick around.”
And Spotify’s planning to get people using its service even more, thanks to a brand new feature, delivered in a brand spanking new way: “We’ve just announced the new ‘Browse’ feature that lets you find music even if you don’t know exactly what you want. It’s a tailored approach, so you can search more easily based on your mood, activity or location.
“Crucially, that’s going into the mobile app first, and we’re going to continue to keep innovating for phones in that way. We have more new features coming this year that we’re launching mobile-first. You’ll continue to see improvements to our apps, and that is our top priority.”