Global music streaming giant Spotify has told the Delhi High Court that it will remove all the works belonging to the India’s oldest record label Saregama India from its platform within 10 days.
Saregama had moved to the Delhi High Court seeking court’s injunction against Spotify to stop it from exploiting its songs or doing any act which would result in a violation of its intellectual property rights.
Saregama’s counsel represented by senior advocate Sajan Poovayya told Justice Jayant Nath that Spotify had approached Saregama to get a license for streaming the latter company’s musical works on its platform.
With this, the negotiation talks between the parties also began and the terms of the license were discussed. Following this, Saregama provided copyright of its catalogue a month prior to the launch of Spotify in India.
However, later the license agreement could not be finalised and Saregama requested Spotify to block all of its work on the app.
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To this, Spotify’s counsel represented by senior advocates P Chidambaram and CM Lall submitted that the company did not consider the litigation as an adversarial one. Thus, it has undertaken to delete Saregama’s content from its platform within 10 days from April 23.
The court noted that Spotify will be bound by its statement to take down the content, the hearing is scheduled for May 5.
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It is charging INR 119 per month for its ad-free premium version, while the existing leaders of the music streaming market in India— Gaana, JioSaavn and Hungama— charge INR 99 per month.
The company came with more than 40 Mn songs and 3 Bn playlists across Indian and international music, across moods and moments. The company had signed multiple partnerships with Indian music labels such as T-Series while it prepared for the launch in the country.
Interestingly, Saregama owns 120K songs, including practically the first song recorded in India and the first 80 years of all film songs. Talking to Inc42 about its music device Carvaan, Saregama MD Vikram Mehra had earlier said, “We have a monopoly here; this, our music and a million devices sold is nothing, especially if you tell that to a mobile company, they will not even look at you. We are a content IP company, and we want to become the top content IP company which fuels content platforms in India and from abroad.”
As a content IP company, Saregama licensing music to streaming channels is a major source of its revenue, and Saregama has struck multiple partnerships with players such as Amazon Prime Music, Gaana, and Jio Saavn.
This is the second licensing hurdle that Spotify has faced in India since its launch in February. Before the India launch, Warner Music Group (WMG) filed an injunction against Spotify in an Indian court after licensing negotiations fell apart. After losing two music labels, things don’t look too good for Spotify in India.
Update: April 25, 2019| 11:20 AM
The story has been updated to further clarify Saregama MD Vikram Mehra’s comment on Carvaan.