Azhar Aziz  |  Singapore
Published 2014-06-18 15:30:32

Spotify and Deezer have long dominated the online music streaming service in Singapore, but that may be about to change with the rapid expansion of South Korea’s Swizzle in the market.

Launched in 2014, Swizzle has opened up an office in Singapore, viewing the city-state as its “entry point to reach Southeast Asia”. As compared to its rivals such as Spotify, the Korean start-up allows users to share YouTube videos which include music videos, cover songs, parodies, live concert videos, and more.

Photo: Swizzle Blog
Photo: Swizzle Blog

As its name suggests, Swizzle allows its members to collaborate and add content available on Youtube – on top of purchased songs from iTunes and Amazon – directly to a shared playlist. Swizzle is currently only available on desktop and iOS, with an Android app in the pipeline.

To further appeal to the highly connected Singapore market, Swizzle is also partnering with the country’s music industry leaders and has actively participated in its music events. The music discovery site has appointed staff to lead the content partnerships in Southeast Asia.

“Three of our team members are networking with industry leaders, local musicians, and DJs in Singapore for potential partnerships or collaborations. Last month, we set up our booth at Startup Asia, the biggest startup conference in Asia and participated in Music Matters, a renowned music conference,” said Ms Olivia Kim, Swizzle’s business manager.

“We also had a discussion with Marco Marcus, a Singaporean artist, about promotional ideas and published a featured playlist for him on our website. Furthermore, we are currently in talks with record labels in Ireland and Thailand for future partnerships.”


A visit by this Vulcan Post writer on Swizzle’s home page showed that the website has quite an eclectic mix of songs. Most of the content seem to be English songs while the level of interactivity among users is mixed. One of the most popular playlists is named ‘EDM week’ with more than 360 plays, started by Swizzle user Bill Kim.

Swizzle has garnered about 4,000 registered users so far, with more than half of its users coming from the Philippines, Thailand, and Indonesia. The company opted for a freemium service for its users with revenue generated from commission by the Affiliate Program of iTunes and from Amazon music ranging from US$0.05 to US$0.15 per song.

“In the long run, we plan to grow as a platform on which only labels and musicians can advertise, as opposed to the everyone-can-advertise feature on Facebook. Users will then be inclined to view those ads because only ads associated with music will be played. This opens doors to opportunities for users to discover new music,” Olivia added.

Full screen view of a Swizzle playlist.
Full screen view of a Swizzle playlist.

Swizzle was formed under Ideabove, a Korean music company specialising in social network services. It is headed by current CEO Ian Lee, who also launched Bonosound, a YouTube-based radio service in Korea two years ago. Nonetheless, strict licensing issues in Korea prompted the discontinuation of Bonosound and Ian launched Swizzle as a redesigned service optimised for a more global audience.

Music sharing was ruled as illegal in 2006 by South Korean courts as it was viewed as detrimental to the country’s multi-billion-dollar music industry. The government updated its copyright law in 2007, requiring online service providers to filter illegal content on request from rights holders. In April 2011, a new law was passed, making it a must for P2P services to register with the government and implement filtering measures.

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