After months of rumors, Spotify – the wildly popular music streaming service – has officially launched in Israel.
The platform denied its intention to enter the Israeli market as recently as last week, but confirmed on Monday that it was now available in the Jewish state.
“We’re incredibly excited to launch Spotify in Israel with a revolutionary new music experience,” said Veronica Diquattro, Spotify’s managing director for southern and eastern Europe. Users can download the app for free, and use either the free, ad-supported service or a premium upgrade for NIS 19.90 per month.
That’s a pretty good deal considering Americans pay $9.99 – about NIS 34.50 – per month to use the premium service.
If you tell Spotify your favorite artists, the platform will automatically curate a playlist for you. You can also build your own playlist from the 35 million songs in rotation or browse the two billion existing playlists.
For Israeli users, Spotify has created playlists from a “local expert curator” and has partnered with Galgalatz to bring playlists curated by the radio station’s DJs and editors. The app can also be integrated into Waze for easy navigation and music enjoyment on the road.
The streaming platform is the most popular of its kind in the world, boasting more than 159 million subscribers. That figure sees it easily beating competitors like Apple Music, Pandora, Amazon and others. In Israel, music streaming services Apple Music, Tidal and Deezer have all already been operating.
Now, Spotify’s millions of music lovers can get in tune with the Israeli music scene. Virtually all the biggest names in Israeli music – including Static & Ben-El, Omer Adam, Shiri Maimon, Eyal Golan, Sarit Hadad, Eden Ben-Zaken, Subliminal and Mosh Ben-Ari – are now available around the world.
Spotify released a promo video for the Israeli launch featuring local artists Hatikva 6, Hadag Nahash, Idan Raichel, Natan Goshen, Nechi Nech and Mashina. The clip also featured a local welcome from groups Maroon 5 and Major Lazer.
While for weeks Spotify denied holding talks about launching in Israel, ACUM – the Association of Composers, Authors and Publishers of Music in Israel – confirmed they were ongoing. But the organization refused to comment on the record both before any deal was signed or on Monday after the announcement. Last week, an ACUM representative told The Jerusalem Post a deal still had not been signed.
Many international artists have long complained about the paltry royalties they receive from Spotify.
A representative for Spotify told the Post on Monday that artists in Israel receive the “same payment structure to any artist in any country.”
According to Globes, the negotiations between Spotify and ACUM went on for two years. Globes said earlier this month, “The two sides disagreed over the level of royalties payable in Israel: ACUM generally charges a royalty of 12.5%, but Apple Music pays it just 10%, and Spotify sought to pay a reduced royalty rate as well.”
In January, the company was sued for $1.6 billion over its royalties, according to The Hollywood Reporter. That suit claimed the platform was using songs by artists, including Tom Petty, David Cassidy, Neil Young and others, without a license or compensation.