Spotify hopes to become instrumental in the fight against music piracy in Brazil, according to one of the company's top executives.
The company, which launched its streaming services in Brazil in May, expects streaming uptake will result in the music piracy decline seen in other countries where it operates, according to Head of Spotify Labs, Gary Liu.
"People tend to do whatever is easier and cheaper. Our objective is to build a product that has the same cost of the pirated product — free — but easier and better," Liu told delegates at YouPix, an internet and digital culture event that took place in São Paulo last weekend.
To illustrate his point, the executive mentioned that since Spotify launched in Sweden eight years ago, piracy rates have decreased by 30 percent.
Spotify is not disclosing how many new users it has attracted since it made its Brazilian platform available, but Liu said that the company received more than 400,000 requests for pre-launch invites to use the service.
By the time Spotify launched in Brazil, other international competitors were already active, notably Rdio and Deezer as well as local equivalent Vivo Música, a service offered by Telefonica Vivo in Brazil in partnership with Napster.
While companies in this space are challenged with growing music offered via the streaming platforms, they also face another issue that is related to the quality of broadband services provided in Brazil.
To stream music via a laptop or desktop computer, a minimum broadband speed of 160kbps is needed — and Spotify itself recommends speeds of at least 1Mbps. Average internet speed in Brazil is 2,6 Mbps according to Akamai.
However, about 90 percent of the internet population in Brazil faces frequent service interruptions and slow speeds — and consequently have trouble streaming online content, according to research by the Brazilian Internet Association.
Also, only 43 percent of Brazilian households have access to broadband. The main justification for the lack of internet access given by households that do own a computer — about 30,6 million homes — is the cost of broadband services.
Last week, Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff announced one of her electoral pledges: the program "Banda Larga Para Todos" (Broadband For All, in Portuguese), aimed at providing cheaper and faster internet access to those who don't have it yet.