Spillikins # 599. Spotify in Russia officially and first streaming successes


There are a lot of stereotypes in the world, many of them are ingrained into the minds of people, and it is almost impossible to get rid of them. And if you impose national characteristics on this, then it becomes even more interesting. Is there a place for Spotify in Russia? To my surprise, I hear from different sides that there is no such place under the sun, everything is occupied forever. It’s good when an average person who is rooting for his favorite team thinks like that, but when professional analysts talk about it, you start to worry that stereotypes are stronger than reality. We will discuss these topics in detail in this issue of Spillikins.

The United States is considering the possibility of an entry ban for Huawei employees, as well as members of the Chinese Communist Party and their families. That’s about 92 million people! We live in very amazing times, as geopolitics is reshaping the world, China is losing ties with the United States, India is losing China and is focusing on other countries. Crazy world and very strange times. What is worth at least hacking Twitter this week, however, I don’t see much point in talking about it, since the story itself is ordinary. Let’s start the traditional edition, let’s go!


  1. Spotify first results in Russia, long live the king
  2. Joystick for XBox – Cyberpunk 2077 Limited Edition
  3. Education in Russia – everything has disappeared once again
  4. Apple fought off the claims of Europe – for a while and not for free
  5. Brave New World – adaptation of Huxley

Spotify first results in Russia, long live the king

What a small group of people had been waiting for so long happened, Spotify officially appeared in Russia. This streaming service is the largest in the world, some might call it the best. I wrote a little material about the launch of Spotify, knowing that I will return to the topic on Monday, in these “Spillikins”.

It was interesting for me to read the lines about Spotify, how this Swedish service is perceived (many consider any successful project to be American by default, they are surprised by its Scandinavian roots). But for me, I was very interested in how the service will be perceived in Russia, given that there are many such projects, they have a large audience. It would be one thing if Spotify had come to our market ten years ago, a different picture would have been about five years ago, but today it seems that the market is divided between projects and there is not much room in the sun. But this is just a stereotype and nothing more.

There are conservative markets in the world, where users get used to something, and it is almost impossible to present them with any alternative. Companies are spending space budgets, but they cannot get things moving. Oddly enough, one of these markets is America, buyers are in no hurry to part with their usual things for the sake of something new, unknown. This is usually the reason for the failure of attempts to conquer North America, even for home companies like Microsoft, it takes years to reverse the perception, and this does not always work. Those who come from outside find it harder.

It is impossible to call Russia conservative, people are changeable, inclined to experiments and choose anything in search of new impressions. This diversity of opinions shapes the marketplace for different products, as seen in the example of browsers. Look at the shares of different browsers in Russia using data from Yandex Radar.

Spillikins # 599. Spotify in Russia officially and first streaming successes

For comparison – the Turkish market, where Yandex also measures data.

Spillikins # 599. Spotify in Russia officially and first streaming successes

In the West, the uniformity of preferences is closer to the Turkish version than to the Russian one. This reasoning can be attributed to other areas as well, for example, the choice of smartphones, TVs, kitchen appliances, and so on. But the root cause is that we as people are very different, each has its own ideas about beauty. My European colleagues are often surprised by this, for them such diversity looks like an anomaly, something wrong. On the other hand, we, as a country and a people, are passionate in this historical period, if we recall Gumilyov and his theory. The choice of people is a reflection of passionarity, the absence of a rigidly cemented outlook on life. The era of changes that began in the 80s is still far from over, and every day only adds new introductory notes. This cannot but affect our choice, the Russian buyer is flexible and ready to try something new in those areas that he already knows. But he often cannot admit this, since he sincerely considers himself conservative!

Reading about the launch of Spotify, I came across one comment that plunged me into the distant past, rate it: “Nobody needs Spotify, there are torrents”. Everything is perfect in this phrase from start to finish. Pay attention to the characteristic feature that is so prominently manifested in our ethnos, we always try to express our conviction on behalf of everyone without exception, not allowing even the slightest thought that other points of view are possible. Remember how many times you have read the phrases “Nobody needs a smartphone X”, “no one supports this initiative” and further in the text. Generalizations are always one-sided and suffer, and when this is superimposed on the misunderstanding of who wrote it, the anonymity of the speaker, it turns into a special form of art.

Torrents are popular, there is no doubt about it, but the fact that they have already lost to streaming services is beyond doubt. People buy a subscription to music, movies and watch them on different devices, often a family subscription. For me, torrents exist, and I actively use them, since it is impossible to find rare documentaries from the past in any other way, as well as some music is available only there. But everyday things are easily found in streaming platforms, there is no sense in hunting for something, syncing folders between a bunch of devices, taking up memory space – my music library is available when connected anywhere in the world, and that’s great. This is a certain level of comfort, which, besides me, was appreciated by millions of people in our country. And the fact that the quality of music, the same bit rate, as a rule, is low and coarsens the sound, does not bother, by and large, anyone – people choose convenience and comfort. But the same torrents cannot provide this convenience, you need to perform a lot of unnecessary actions that take time. You need to be a very involved person to constantly use torrents, it’s just inconvenient.

But from anecdotal statements about Spotify, I want to move to the conservative component of the choice of many people who defend it. My service (here you can substitute Yandex, Apple, Google, Sounds, Deezer or something else) is no worse, and there (as much / more music) than Spotify. This is an excuse for your own choice, and it looks right, because it is your choice, and only he plays a role in your life. But there is also a projection of one’s choice on the outside world, that is “to no one”, the unification of all within the framework of one concept. It is pleasant when you are surrounded by like-minded people, and it is completely unpleasant when dissidents meet who question the genius of your decisions. Moreover, the doubt in this case is not even some kind of attacks (hey, you earthworms who chose such and such a product – no, not so), but rather the very fact of choosing something else.

The level and number of attacks on Spotify of this kind is quite common for a new product launch. It is clear that most often attacks come from the owners of Apple Music or Yandex.Music, there are more of them, and they are more noticeable, and among the former there are many really conservative people who do not want to change anything, since they chose the “best” and see no point in further searches and comparisons. It somehow reminds fans who sincerely worry about the successes or failures of their favorite team, the essence of the phenomenon here is of the same nature.

Let’s take a look at the first statistics regarding Spotify in Russia, although the numbers as such are few. To begin with, the app topped the charts in the Play Store.

Spillikins # 599. Spotify in Russia officially and first streaming successesSpillikins # 599. Spotify in Russia officially and first streaming successes

Beeline analyzed traffic on the network and correlated it with users, got an interesting portrait of those who used Spotify in the early days. The first place in the use of the application is taken by Moscow and the region (23.3%), then St. Petersburg and the region (3.6%), there is nothing surprising, this is the usual distribution. Three other places are Krasnodar (3.6%), Saratov (3.5%) and Yekaterinburg (3.3%), which also more or less fits into the picture of the world.

The typicality of this distribution is that the launch of such services, despite their digital nature, is directly related to fashion, and we see how it spreads in circles across the country. The center here is Moscow, where young people start trying the service, and then do something similar in other cities. And in this aspect, everything is very simple – there is Moscow and all other cities that look the same, the same Peter does not set a trend, but perceives it from the Moscow guys. Reverse stories can exist when the same Peter sets new trends, but not in the field of digital services.

Let’s take a look at the age of Spotify users, three quarters are under 35, with 31% between the ages of 25 and 34, 28% between 18 and 24. There are slightly more men than women (61% and 39%).

Other operators measured the traffic generated by using Spotify. It is important to make a reservation here that when people are just forming their libraries (premium subscription), then the traffic inevitably grows, you need to download music. Therefore, it is impossible to directly compare this parameter with other services today, we will be able to do this in at least six months.

MegaFon noted a 20-fold increase in Spotify traffic, and the number of users tripled. In Yota, traffic grew 13.5 times in the first day (growth from a low value? There are many questions), and the operator made all traffic to the application free.

The relative numbers of the operators, as always, are sly, it is impossible to draw any meaningful conclusions from them. It seems like a lot and the growth is staggering. But if yesterday there was one Spotify user, and today there are twenty, is that a lot? I don’t think it will strike your imagination. Problems are caused by the fact that at the moment premium accounts are de facto free, that is, you cannot view billing. During the promotional period, the number of connections will certainly be large, and then there will be a rollback, the question is how strong it will be.

The task was interesting, and we built various models, found various indirect sources of data, for example, not only the number of app installations, but also how often it was launched on Android smartphones (alas, this information is not available for iPhones, but we can assume that everything is plus or minus is similar). The result is a picture, the details of which I will not go into, but I will share some of the findings.

First, about half of those who downloaded the application did not find the time to launch it. This is a normal scenario, when people leave it for later, someone never gets around to launching applications. According to a number of signs, this is not an attempt to bring the application to the top of the charts, since the users and their devices are more than real. And similar scenarios are observed for a bunch of other applications.

Secondly, about 20% of those who launched the application actively studied it. This is the work of the application per day for about 47 minutes on average (the record that we saw in this sample was 14 hours of playing music during the day!), Repeated launches of the application over several days. In fact, it looks like a full-fledged use of the application from the first day, studying playlists and so on (alas, what is inside the application is not visible, only the very fact of work).

Comparing the release of Spotify in numbers with the launch of Apple Music (in the first six months in Russia, the service gained 300 thousand paying customers), I can say that there are many similarities. But if you start from the first few days, then Spotify’s growth is much steeper, while the dynamics is about 1.5 times higher. The reasons can be called the fact that we are in 2020 and streaming is perceived quite differently, this is an already developed market segment. It is possible that Google’s misstep and the closure of Play Music are affecting, many users refuse this service and switch to Spotify (this is not a figure of speech, we can see this from the first data). Subject to a drop in the growth of connections to Spotify, changes in dynamics to a normal level, this service may take first place in the Russian market in the first half of 2022. It is a world leader in its niche, and the same Apple Music lags behind even in its home market for Apple, America. And the appeal of the service in playlists is that users discover new names for themselves, and playlists do not get boring, as in other streaming services. The magic of Spotify is that its algorithms perform better than others, and so far no one has been able to repeat it. Technically, the service looks different, people are drawn in, it is sticky in a good sense of the word. Oftentimes, those who rate Spotify haven’t used it for a day and don’t understand the main component of this service. To quote a study by J’son & Partners regarding the Russian streaming market: “The target audience of the Swedish service will be fans of foreign music who cannot meet their needs through existing services, as well as users of other streaming services who will try Spotify to get acquainted with the content, according to J ‘son. “Taking into account these facts, as well as the high loyalty of the audience to existing services, we do not expect that the operator will be able to take a place in the top 3 music streaming services in Russia,” said Dmitry Kolesov, Director of the TV and Content Department.

A total misunderstanding of the market and the driving forces that work on it. Spotify will enter the top three services by the end of the year by any parameter, and in terms of the number of active daily users, it will reach third place by September (and again, taking into account the development model by analogy with other such services, this is not multiplying the number of the first days by the number of days in the future period). A giant has entered the Russian market and will begin to ram other players, make them move, and do something. An indirect sign I can call the fact that after my material about Spotify, representatives of other Russian services wrote to the mail, offering interviews, comments, views on the market. Before Spotify came out, they were quiet, indifferent, and now they are starting to move. And this is good for the entire streaming market, it is starting to develop more actively. I have no doubt that Spotify has already created a stir in the Russian market, as well as that the launch is successful. And this despite any initiatives of the company, it just happened at the expense of users, the media, this is the case when a good product sells itself. It somehow reminded me of the times of Sony Ericsson and such a model as K750i, that phone also sold itself, and the company did not make any special efforts for this. There is only one danger here, once competitors can create a similar product, and then you will be lost at once, you will not be able to play on equal terms with those who are strong in PR and marketing. As happened with the same Sony Ericsson, the company was unable to capitalize on its success.

Joystick for XBox – Cyberpunk 2077 Limited Edition

I am slowly writing a review of MS Book 3, complete with which I was given a Cyberpunk 2077 Limited Edition joystick. This is the game of the same name, coming out in September 2020, and the joystick is part of the promo campaign.

Spillikins # 599. Spotify in Russia officially and first streaming successesSpillikins # 599. Spotify in Russia officially and first streaming successes

The first impression when people see a joystick is: “Well, you play a lot, you even go out for a walk with your joystick.” When you say that this is a new accessory just out of the box, there is no limit to surprise. What, they made him old? Specially? And who knocked out this inscription on the case? No, really, was he that old? He’s tattered!

A special irony to the conversation is given by the fact that people are surprised who easily buy aged jeans, sweaters and consider them cool. What is normal in clothing is difficult for electronics, even for such accessories. I think I’ll talk about it in Sofa Analytics, it’s a great mix of nostalgia and new products that creates a win-win combination.

But I also caught myself thinking that it makes me happy, how Microsoft has learned to make a variety of joysticks, limited editions, of which there are dozens and they are produced for every taste. It seems like a trifle, but it says a lot about how the perception of the world in the company has changed – one product does not satisfy everyone. It is clear that the joysticks are the same in their essence and capabilities, but the approach itself pleases, there is variety.

Education in Russia – everything has disappeared once again

Another puzomerka has appeared, which draws Russia at least unusually, as it shows that Russian specialists are among the best and there are many of them. There is a platform for online courses in various technical specialties Coursera. It enrolls 65 million people from all over the world, which means it is a representative slice, not a small fraction of the data. Based on the study of the quality of education, Coursera forms the Global Competence Index (GSI). And it contains many interesting points directly related to Russia. But first, one tablet, it shows how the accessible Internet is associated with high skills in a particular area. The answer is direct. And the fact that in Russia there are all the opportunities to get an education online from any corner of the country is a fact with which it is difficult to argue. There would only be a desire.

Spillikins # 599. Spotify in Russia officially and first streaming successes

And now about other facts arising from the study. Russian users have good business skills, we have overtaken the United States and are ranked ninth in the world. Not bad? This just shows how “bad” everything is, how ruined the education system and people do not want anything.

Spillikins # 599. Spotify in Russia officially and first streaming successes

In the technology section, Russia ranks first among all countries in the world.

Spillikins # 599. Spotify in Russia officially and first streaming successes

In data science, which includes programming, this is also the first place in the world.

Spillikins # 599. Spotify in Russia officially and first streaming successes

The pusomerka shows the situation indirectly, you can blame the technique, or whatever. But this is to some extent a reflection of reality, people in Russia are more skillful than in other countries, and they know more. Not all, but only those who study and want to develop. But the result is surprising and tangible, it contradicts what propaganda has drummed into for many years – you can’t do anything, you won’t succeed, and so on. We know how, it turns out, and it turns out that there is something to be proud of. There is no point in turning this insignificant test and index into a cause for eternal pride, this is just one of the stories. But the fact that the competence of people in Russia is not inferior to the world is beyond doubt. In many areas, we have already outgrown those who once taught us. And this process continues further, which pushes all industries up. There is never a prophet in our own country, so we adore it when we are judged from the outside, as if we ourselves are incapable of evaluating this moment. And for some reason, we often agree with negative assessments that do not reflect reality, but are so close – we do not know how, we cannot, we will fail. But the reality is completely different, and it is much simpler, we have become competitors to most countries in the world, including in the labor market. Our person easily copes with almost any job, if he wants to get it and is ready to work anywhere. What do you do with your competitors? I think that you will draw your own conclusions.

Apple fought off the claims of Europe – for a while and not for free

How much do you pay for taxes? I am sure that you can definitely answer this question, since it concerns your money. If you are not in business, then you can hardly imagine how much you need to pay certain taxes to the state, regardless of which country in the world you do it. Large corporations find loopholes in taxes and therefore can pay minuscule, they evade taxes in those countries where they are physically located. For example, Apple uses Ireland for this and pays 0.005% in taxes! I wouldn’t mind saving as much as Apple on taxes.

The European Commission counted $ 15 billion (€ 13 billion) in uncollected taxes over the decade, including interest. The court, which was lengthy, was supposed to put an end to this issue and force Apple to pay or acquit the company. European Commission officials lost the case last week, although they can appeal it. The reason for the loss is that Ireland does not offer special conditions for Apple, Nike, Microsoft and other corporations are taking the same approach. That is, this is the usual practice of the country, which is described in the laws. And the logic of the decision is that companies cannot be punished for the laws that exist in this or that country, since they do not violate them. There is no advantage to any company, so there is no reason to investigate.

In fact, the only way the European Commission has is to change the laws, to make such taxes impossible. But it will not have retroactive effect, that is, it will not work to punish the company with payments for previous periods, in this aspect the court decision is very interesting, and it is fundamental.

It seems to many that Apple’s victory did not cost the company anything. This is definitely not the case. It’s just that the damage that Apple has suffered isn’t as great as it could have been. The costs of lawyers and business are not ephemeral at all, they are tens of millions of dollars that Apple loses. Compared to the general background of Apple’s profit, this is nothing, but, on the other hand, this is only one of many cases against the company, there are several dozen of them. Some cases are high-profile, about some no one has heard. And every time, defending themselves, Apple spends money on it, everyone wants to snatch a piece of money from the most expensive company in the world. Therefore, the next attack is not even a matter of time, it is already happening. The only question is, what kind of blood will Apple beat back from it.

Brave New World – adaptation of Huxley

There are several dystopias in the world that cannot be missed, and even without reading them, you encounter them indirectly, so much they penetrated the culture of everyday life. Offhand this is Orwell’s 1984 or Animal Farm (I love the phrase from there: All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others), Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, Burgess’s A Clockwork Orange and, of course, Huxley. Brave new world. ” Huxley’s novel was published in 1932, then the genre of dystopia was more popular than ever, let me remind you that this is the time of destruction of the usual landmarks, the expectation of shocks in various countries, which involuntarily leads to parallels with the present day. The scenery has changed a bit, but the essence remains comparable.

Huxley tried to invent a society in which science would create a “correct” state structure. Not many people have read Brave New World, I did it several times, for the first time in school. I was then surprised at how far-sighted Huxley was, he discussed technologies that were not yet available in his time, it seemed that he was a visionary. As I got to know our world and its history, an interesting detail emerged: the issues raised in this novel were relevant for that time, and there was no particular perspicacity of speech. Huxley used the usual method of a writer: he reduced what he saw in front of him to the point of absurdity (hello to Kafka and his “Castle”). I had to take the book and re-read it again, and then look through the reviews of that time, the work opened from a completely different side. The problem is that we interpret any work from the standpoint of our modernity, we do not delve into the balance of power and how many issues were perceived at the time of writing the work. Interestingly, Huxley’s novel was awakened to life by Yevgeny Zamyatin with his novel We, which came out in 1920 and made a lot of noise. The features of the future in these works are the same, they are easily guessed. Consider Huxley a different reading of the future, adjusted for his life experience.

Spillikins # 599. Spotify in Russia officially and first streaming successes

The film adaptation always suffers from the fact that it is very difficult to draw a believable world, a place that the viewer will believe in. And only a few succeed. In the Peacock series (we have it in “Kinopoisk HD”), this, in my opinion, did not work. It was an interesting moment for me, as will be shown reservations with Indians, drug addicts, same-sex relationships and everything that Huxley considered the scourge of civilization. None of this happened, in the series they left the outline, but removed what Huxley had scattered in the novel through the details of the relationship. The result is a chewing gum for mass use, even here they try to shoot beautifully scenes of orgies, as if people behave like that in everyday life. This film is about a civilization of pleasure, where everyone gets “soma,” a universal drug. People are created in test tubes, their fate is determined by the class of genetic material. Behind the scenes remains what is so well revealed in the book, people of the lower castes are created limited, this is their “blueprint” and their purpose.

Spillikins # 599. Spotify in Russia officially and first streaming successes

The series consists of nine episodes, the narrative is rather ragged, and the action is not captivating. It seems flat, there are logical inconsistencies in the script, the actions of the heroes, even adjusted for the fictional world, seem at least surprising. This is clearly not a series that can be called fascinating and unusual, even despite a number of interesting finds. A walk-through job that gets a lot of attention because of the novel itself, but clearly doesn’t deserve it. It is impossible to believe that the novel was conveyed by this work, then you can see “Kin-dza-dza”, there will be more sense, and this dystopia is somehow closer to us. But it is likely that this will be the only opportunity to catch on to Huxley, to learn, albeit indirectly, about one of those books that determined the development of our society, woven into the cultural fabric. Reading Huxley is not pleasant, it also does not attract entertainment. Hence the complexity of the film adaptation, when you just need to show complex things, only a few succeed in this.

With a shudder I look forward to the adaptation of the novel “We”, next year director Hamlet Dulian will present his work. The first trailers are already such that the irony of what is happening is overwhelming, the creators of bad mass culture are not at all shy about taking the most difficult things into work and giving their reading. Also a sign of the times.

PS Have a good mood, work week and preferably good weather. Returning from St. Petersburg, I realized that the cities had changed places. It is damp and foggy in Moscow, and sunny in St. Petersburg. Perhaps this is a compensation to Peter for the mostly closed museums, restaurant halls and the lack of tourists, never saw the city so empty at the height of the tourist season. The only thing that saves the situation is that a lot of people came there from Moscow and other cities. But they also cannot replace the crowds of Chinese, there are simply fewer of us. I wish good deeds to argue this week!

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