Spotify, the world’s largest music streaming service, has launched its operations in India with the hopes of tapping into the increasing number of online users in India who are expected to speed up their spending on digital content in the coming years.
“India has an incredibly rich music culture and to best serve this market, we’re launching a custom-built experience. Not only will Spotify bring Indian artists to the world, we’ll also bring the world’s music to fans across India. Spotify’s music family just got a whole lot bigger,” said Daniel Ek, Spotify founder and CEO.
Spotify allows users to listen to the music for free but that comes at the cost of seeing ads which at the moment are spreading brand awareness or urge you to shift to the paid service. Freemium users are also not able to store music offline which is important when there is no net connectivity while ‘Premium’ users, who have to pay $1.68 (INR 119) per month after the end of a 30-day free trail, get everything.
The company said it will allow payment options for monthly or yearly subscriptions that can be paid through Paytm, credit or debit cards. It is interesting to note that the company will charge a slightly higher subscription rate of $1.81 (INR 129 per month) if payment is made through ewallets.
“The mobile internet revolution has led to a rapid rise in the number of connected Indians, making music streaming the preferred way to enjoy music here. Spotify pioneered music streaming a decade ago, and has constantly reinvented itself to bring the best music experience to the world, and now to India,” said Amarjit Singh Batra, Managing Director, Spotify India
On Monday, the India launch hit a snag after Warner Music Group (WMG), filed an injunction against Spotify in an Indian court after licensing negotiations fell apart.
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India Music Landscape
Although Google holds the number one spot when it comes to music app downloads (how many of these subscribers use the paid version of the app is not clear) in India, Jio’s acquisition of music-streaming portal Saavn in a $1 Bn-plus deal is heating up competition for Google.
Native music streaming services such as Gaana and Saavn have raised money from big investors such as Tiger Global and Tencent.
But one thing that none of the music streaming services, including Apple Music had, prior to launching their operations, was the high level of anticipation among consumers.
Spotify is a pop culture phenomenon already in India even prior to launching the service, thanks in part to Indians returning home after having used the service abroad and just the domino of effect caused due to the global phenomenon which Spotify has become having listed on the NYSE with a valuation of $29.5 Bn last year. Cannes Lions awarded Spotify as its first ‘Media Brand of the Year’ in 2018.
Some Indian’s had already started using the app via applying hacks related to VPN, APKs and changing location to other countries on the App Store.
Indians, on a average, now spend 20 hours every week listening to music, according to India Music 360 report published by Nielsen this year.
Spotify ended 2018 with 207 Mn monthly active users (MAUs) including 96 Mn premium subscribers. Those figures were up by 29% and 36% year-on-year, respectively. “For the first time in company history, operating income, net income, and free cash flow were all positive,” the company said in its financial release.
According to a KPMG report from 2015 , India’s recorded music business is set to nearly double to INR 18.9 Bn (US $300m) by the end of this year.