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Spotify India Review: This May Be The Best Music Streaming Service, But Should You Really Pay For it?

Spotify India Review: This May Be The Best Music Streaming Service, But Should You Really Pay For it?

Spotify has finally made its way to India, and we take a look at what you can expect from the app.

After a really long struggle, Spotify has managed to launch its services in India. The app was enabled yesterday for most users and is offered with multiple plans to suit their needs. In case you have been living under a rock, Spotify is a Sweden-based music streaming platform which was originally launched in October 2008. It has been the top music service provider globally when it comes to subscriber base. In fact, As of February 2019, it had 207 million total monthly active users, including 96 million paying subscribers.

Spotify is definitely late to the party and could have a hard time to compete against existing services like Apple Music, Google Music and Amazon Music as well as domestic player like JioSaavn and Gaana. The reason for Spotify’s delayed arrival is that the company took its time to sign deals with various labels that control the music industry in India. Mind you, unlike most countries, India has a massive music industry. There are independent artists, regional music and of course Bollywood. The company hasn’t had a very pleasant experience as it reportedly had concerns with T-Series and is currently still in talks with Warner Music to finalise content.

So what can you expect if you are a keen Spotify user in India? Let’s find out…

Content and Experience
The app is available for all Android and iOS devices as well as Windows 10 PCs, macOS devices, Android TV, Sony PlayStation, Microsoft Xbox and of course on all web browsers. Spotify claims that the app is also available on Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, however, I tested the app and couldn’t use the service on the latter. Hopefully, a quick update will enable the feature. Also, if you own an Android TV, make sure you download the app as it just looks majestic on a large screen.

(Update: Fired up Spotify and connected it to my car stereo, and voila it started working.)

Considering I have used the global version of Spotify, the Indian version is pretty much the same. You get access to all features including the highly praised ‘Discover’ curation which you can find under the Search option. Specifically for India, you get curated playlists based on what users are listening in cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Chennai. There is also a tab customised for you, which suggests songs based on what you have been listening. Then there are Editor’s picks, best of artists, and a variety of auto-generated playlists which keep improving as you use the app.

As for the content itself, there is a wide range of music including Bollywood, Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu, apart from a variety of international genres, podcasts, radio, and more. Notably, some international content is missing from Spotify. I was surprised to see music from legendary bands like Led Zeppelin and Metallica unavailable on the app. Now it's not like everything is missing, but one expects to find a song immediately under the search results. You will notice that while all artists are present, some of them have no music while some have only a few singles or albums. The reason for that is presumably the ongoing tussle with Warner Music.

Spotify had confirmed that Warner revoked a previously agreed publishing license for reasons completely unrelated to Spotify’s launch in India. Just a day back, Warner sued to stop Spotify’s use of its catalog, which Spotify had tried to obtain rights to through a controversial amendment to the Indian copyright act that allows for broadcasters to obtain licenses without the copyright owner’s consent. So don’t be surprised if your favorite Ed Sheeran track is missing, but hopefully, Spotify will eventually get content from Warner.

In my opinion, if you have been using a streaming service say Apple Music or Google Music, then there isn’t a huge reason for you to jump boat. On top of that, a chunk of international music isn’t available as of yet. Having said that, Spotify is highly capable and intuitive and the existing services can’t match up when it comes to playlist curations and suggestions. Personally I also think that the app lets you discover new artists that are aligned with your music tastes. Audio experience has been impeccable and one can seamlessly switch between devices.

Why should I get Premium?
The good thing is, if you don’t get the premium plan, you still get access to the entire music library offered by Spotify. But if you want to enjoy the full potential of Spotify, we suggest you go for the premium plan. Apart from an ad-free experience, the premium tier offers 320Kbps audio files to stream and download (for offline playback) under the very high-quality music option. This makes for an enhanced audio experience, especially for the ones who prioritise quality over size.

The premium tier also unlocks the ability to skip tracks and you can also download tracks for offline listening making albums and playlists accessible to you all the time. The premium tier also offers Spotify Connect, which controls Spotify music across multiple devices. You can control what’s playing on your laptop using your smartphone, or pair Spotify with dedicated hardware, like speakers or a console.

As for the subscription, just like the global version, Spotify in India is being offered as an ad-supported free tier, as well as premium tier options. The premium plans are ad-free and include a 30-day free trial. After the free trial ends, you need to pay Rs 119 per month to get full access to all the music and premium features. You only get the complimentary one month access if you pay for your monthly plan via Visa or Mastercard.

Spotify Premium starts for Rs 13 a day while a week-long subscription is priced at Rs 39. If you are a more serious user, then you can go for the monthly subscription which priced at Rs 129, Rs 389 for 3 months, Rs 719 for 6 months and Rs 1,189 for one year. Notably, while this is only slightly cheaper than Apple Music, there are no sharing or family packs, which give Apple an advantage here.