Russia’s leading mobile operator Mobile TeleSystems (MTS) has gone into a strategic partnership with Spotify, the world’s most popular music streaming subscription service that entered the Russian market last month.
To help promote the new service, MTS will offer its subscribers six months of free access to Spotify’s premium content to rope them in.
Spotify Premium enables users to listen to music ad-free both on- and offline, while also providing hi-fi audio quality and an “unlimited music discovery experience,” MTS said in a press release.
At the end of the free trial period, users can continue using the service by paying RUB169 ($2.30) per month via a direct charge to their mobile account.
“This strategic partnership with the world's most popular music subscription service is yet another step forward as we develop our entertainment services and build out the broader MTS digital ecosystem. Music, podcasts and audiobooks are already essential services for millions of Russian consumers. Teaming up with Spotify will strengthen MTS’s leadership in the market, and give our customers the first opportunity in Russia to try out this exclusive offer,” said Vyacheslav Nikolaev, first vice-president for customer experience, marketing and ecosystem development.
“We strive to work with strong partners around the world so our users get a first-class experience and listen to their favourite music anytime and on any device,” said Ilya Alekseev, managing director of Spotify in Russia. “Our first partnership in the Russian market provides an opportunity for 78mn MTS subscribers to get premium access to Spotify’s music library, which features more than 60mn tracks and 4bn playlists, as well as personalised recommendations for new music every day.”
Spotify’s entrance has been a long time coming. The company had previously planned to enter the Russian market in 2015 but cancelled “for the foreseeable future because of the economic crisis, political situation and new internet laws,” the company said at the time.
Former Google executive Alexander Kubaneishvili, who was supposed to lead Spotify's operations in Russia, wrote a letter to partners saying "the economic crisis, the political situation, the new laws governing the internet" were the reasons for Spotify's decision.
Now the company is expanding throughout the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).