‘Spotify in talks with Vodacom’

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VodacomSign Bloomberg File photo: Nadine Hutton.

Johannesburg - Spotify is in talks with Vodacom on a partnership that would mark the music-streaming service’s first foray into the African continent, according to two people familiar with the matter.

Vodacom, a unit of Vodafone, plans to offer its wireless customers subscriptions that include a limited amount of free data to access Spotify’s music library, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private.

An agreement with the Johannesburg-based carrier would let Spotify enter Africa after starting in more than 56 countries since it was founded in Sweden in 2006.

The negotiations underscore the fight among African telecommunications carriers for content partners as more consumers use smartphones to access music and movies.

MTN, Africa’s biggest wireless operator, is in discussions with an Asia-based TV-content provider, people familiar with the talks said in April.

Fixed-line carrier Telkom has held talks with media companies including Netflix and Comcast about using its network to deliver content.

Vodacom is considering content-sharing deals, spokesman Richard Boorman said in an e-mailed response to questions.

He declined to discuss talks with specific partners.

Alison Bonny, a Spotify spokeswoman, declined to comment.

Vodacom has 31.5 million customers in South Africa.

Spotify, the world’s biggest music-subscription service, has 10 million paying users while a further 30 million listen for free through ad-supported services on computers.

Vodafone, which owns 65 percent of Vodacom, said last month that bundling high-speed Internet access with content is driving higher data usage, a trend that may lead to an increase in monthly bills and help reverse service-revenue declines.

Last month, Vodafone said it would give UK users of its high-speed 4G service a six-month subscription to streaming movies and TV shows on Netflix. - Bloomberg News

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