Music streaming service Spotify has launched a simplified version of its main app in 36 markets across Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and Africa.

Dubbed Spotify Lite, it touts features that make the user experience a better one for markets where data costs and reliable connectivity remain an ongoing issue. Markets in Asia where Lite is now available include Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and India.

Only 10MB in size, the app allows users to set a limit for how much data it can consume. It will then notify users when they’ve reached that limit and can be used either alongside or independently from the main Spotify app.

“Spotify Lite was built from the ground up based on user feedback from around the world, allowing millions more to enjoy the world’s best music experience — especially in areas with limited bandwidth and phone storage,” said Kalle Persson, senior product manager at Spotify.

The move comes as the company seeks to increase its reach in potential growth markets, beyond North America and Europe which make up 65% of its user base, while Africa, Asia and the Middle East accounts for just 13%.

A Bloomberg report noted that YouTube has already introduced a light version of its app for emerging markets and has added millions of users across Southeast Asia.

Meanwhile, Netflix has made it possible for users to download full movies and TV shows to watch offline for the same reason.

In a recent Spotify-published Q&A, Southeast Asia managing director Gautam Talwar noted that the region’s smartphone audience is one of the largest globally, but music streaming is only just taking hold.

“With less than 20% of the region’s users streaming music, there’s a massive opportunity and potential for growth,” he said. “But millions of people are limited by their devices, their data plans and their network conditions. So helping them conveniently get their favourite content is a big focus.”

The quest to expand its audience base accompanies its US$500m bet on podcasts and its forecasted growth as both a content and revenue stream. Podcasts already generate substantial revenue in the US – bringing in an estimated US$659m by 2020, but remains a nascent industry globally.

In June this year, it introduced podcast listener targeting, which allows brands to reach Spotify Free users who listen to podcasts in the US, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Australia.

Sourced from Bloomberg, Spotify, IAB, The Drum; additional content by WARC staff