In Thailand and into music? I bet you wanna know what the Spotify situation is.
Can you use Spotify in Thailand?
Yes, but it is not simple. There are two ways to subscribe that depend on whether you are a “Thailand” user or from a different country. Either way can work with the Thai version being a lot cheaper.
I’ve lived here for 5 years and have used Spotify in one way or another for most of that time. Read on, and I’ll give you the down low on how to make Spotify work for you.
Can You Use Spotify In Thailand?
The answer to this is yes and you have two ways in which you can do so.
1. You pay for premium. When you have a premium Spotify account, you can travel wherever you like and still listen to music. This can be done with a Spotify account that is based anywhere, your home country included.
2. You sign up for an account within Thailand. Spotify has now launched in Thailand (more on that in a second) and you can use the service for free. I don’t have much experience with the free service as I cannot deal with ads when I’m trying to enjoy my music.
Personally, I think Spotify is an amazing service and I see no reason why you shouldn’t pay for it if you use it frequently. If you have a bank account in Thailand then you can open a Thai Spotify account and get premium much cheaper. Rather than the £10 per month I pay in the UK, it costs 129 baht (=£3) per month instead.
Has Spotify Launched In Thailand?
The answer to this is yes, but only recently.
I moved to Bangkok in early 2014 and was quite dismayed to learn that Spotify was not available to listen to music here. I assumed I’d have to use Youtube to listen to songs like I was some kind of caveman…
Actually, I made it work by using my UK debit card to pay for a Spotify Premium account which gives ‘unlimited travel’. In this case, I took ‘unlimited travel’ to mean ‘unlimited living in another country’ and it all worked out nicely.
As I mentioned, this method should still work if you want to listen to Spotify in Thailand this way.
These days, Spotify is up and running in Thailand. I’ll show in the next section how to sign up for free or how you can get premium at a much cheaper rate.
How To Sign Up For Spotify In Thailand
A couple of years back I noticed that when I was logging into the Spotify website it began throwing a bunch of Thai letters at me. My reading was not good enough to translate but I certainly understood the ‘129B/month’ part!
So, as of July 2019, here’s what the Spotify website looks like when you access it from a computer in Thailand. The script is in Thai but I’ve (probably quite badly) translated it in the caption below the image.
Now be very careful here, if you change language and select UK (English) or USA (English) it will take you to those countries pages where you are paying the higher price. The key is to select Thailand (English) where the language will all be in English but the prices will still be at the lower Thai price.
So you can see here that Premium costs just 129B/month which is a steal for such a great service. If you have a bank account in Thailand then signing up is simple providing your bank account works. Mine didn’t. Until I discovered the following…
What If My Card Doesn’t Work?
So as I mentioned, my (and I assume lots of other people’s) debit cards from Thai banks don’t offer the full range of features you’d expect from a bank account in your own country. The one that sticks out here is the inability to make recurring payments with your card.
Expect it to catch on soon. I’m amazed they haven’t learnt how much people can waste money one expensive recurring phone contracts and whatnot.
Anyway, you can’t sign up for Spotify premium with many Thai debit cards because it requires you to sign up for a recurring payment.
UPDATE: The old version of this article was about using gift cards, but Spotify has started to accept one-off payments. Smart decision. Although it should’ve been done sooner. No-one uses recurring payments in Thailand. As such, you shouldn’t have much trouble signing up for a 1-day, 7-day, 1-month or 3-month (non-repeating) subscriptions.
Can’t be bothered to manually make the payment each month? Your best option is to go into a bank and ask about recurring payments. My experience in Thai banks and with the people who work there is not good, so I don’t recommend it. But recurring payments definitely exists here as I know people who pay for Netflix on their Thai bank cards.
Is Spotify In Thailand Different?
As far as I can tell, there is no difference between the service you get in other countries and Thailand. I use my playlists interchangeably when moving between the UK and Thailand and never have a problem finding what I want in either country. It must be said that I largely listen to mainstream Western music.
This is not the case with certain other services, notably Netflix, where I guess copyright restrictions work differently and they have to change their availability.
What Good Thai Songs Are There?
So you’ve got Spotify up and running now. The logical next step is to fill it up with some local bangers. Here’s a few suggestions for your ‘Thailand 2019’ playlist.
My Heart For Your Number by Ying Lee – This song has a level of popularity in Thailand that is simply ridiculous. The opening chords will bring the house down at any bar, club or school classroom. It’s about a girl who sees a cute guy and wants his phone number. Kind of the Thai equivalent of ‘Call Me Maybe’ except WAY more popular. If you can imagine that.
ประเทศกูมี by Rap Against Dictatorship” – This song was released just last year and has struck a chord with many in this country. I don’t want to get political here, but the title of the group should clue you in on what this is all about.
Fortune Cookie – BNK48 – Thailand’s answer to those crazy girl bands in Japan and Korea where they have 50+ members. BNK48 are a collection of young girl-next-door types who sing songs, wear costumes and dance a bit. This band (group?) are well-loved by young girls and young boys both, for reasons that you can probably work out.
There’s a whole bunch more than this I could write about and maybe I’ll do a full article on it sometime. Once you know these songs, it’s amazing how often you hear them around. I can’t tell if it’s a Thai thing or just that songs get overplayed in this country. Or maybe I’ve just lived here too long…