Spotify takes Dutch courage from Netherlands music growth


Recorded-music spending grew by 11% in the Netherlands in 2015, while live spending rose by 14% – and Spotify says its growth in the country has played an important role.

The streaming service’s director of economics Will Page hailed the return to growth in consumer spending on recorded-music after 11 straight years of decline as “truly remarkable”, in his keynote speech at the FastForward conference in Amsterdam.

“Back in 2003, Dutch consumers spent €400m on recorded music, and they spent somewhere just under €300m on gigs. In the time that’s passed, that recorded spend has slumped to new lows, going down to about €200m and falling further still,” said Page.

“Since then, the live-music business has rocketed to new highs: it’s gone well beyond €400m.” Yet in 2015, both sectors saw double-digit growth, with the recorded figure “driven largely by streaming”.

This is not the first time Spotify has held the Netherlands up as a success story for streaming. In July 2013, Page’s Adventures in the Netherlands research report hailed a “big bang effect” there caused by a combination of legal streaming services, telco partnerships and anti-piracy legislation.

Then, in October 2014, the follow-up Adventures in the Lowlands report explored Spotify’s role in the live sector, where two-thirds of attendees at the Lowlands Festival were Spotify users.

At FastForward, Page and colleague Nienke Dettmeijer stressed the importance in the Netherlands of Spotify’s hard-bundle partnership with telco KPN, as well as the streaming firm’s retention techniques.

“If someone did not listen to the music via Spotify for over two months, we will make sure to send that person a multitude of messages with relevant music content, and try to reactivate them,” said Dettmeijer.

Page added that local partnerships with artists – from emerging Dutch rappers to veteran Marco Borsato – has also been important.

Page struck a buoyant note, pointing out that in previous years, he coined the expression “flat is the new up” to encourage rightsholders to see stabilising revenues as a positive trend.

“Now up is the new flat,” he told FastForward. “We’re seeing more good news than we’re seeing bad news, and we haven’t seen that since I was at Glasgow University in 1999-2000.”

Written by: Stuart Dredge