It has taken quite a bit of time, but if sources are to be believed, Spotify might finally launch in India. The world’s biggest music streaming service has been working for a while to set its footprint in the country and the efforts could finally pay-off on January 31.
The buzz began in March 2018 when Spotify Co-founder and CEO, Daniel Ek had confirmed that they are working on launching in some of the biggest markets in the world, including India. The announcement was made during the company's investors day presentation.
This was followed by a report suggesting that the music streaming company had appointed Himanshu Suri as the Senior Editor of Indian culture. Suri is a well-known artist in the Indian music scenario and is a part of the hip-hop music group Swet Shop Boys. He was also an important part of alternative hip hop group Das Racist. It was also reported that former OLX CEO Amarjit Singh Batra was appointed as Spotify India head.
In July 2018, the company faced certain issues to crack negotiations with the large record labels in India controlling the music industry. Relationships between Spotify and the music labels had apparently gone bad over the fact that the streaming company had been acquiring licensed music directly from certain artists without informing the labels.
After hiring a head of communications for the India team and about 300 employees in November last year, it was confirmed that Spotify would launch within the upcoming six months. There was also a report that said the company had cleared most of its deals with major right holders in the country.
Just last week, there was some positive development. Spotify had announced a global deal with T-Series bringing in a catalogue of over 1,60,000 Indian songs which includes regional and Bollywood, to Spotify customers. Paul Smith, Director, Head of International Licensing at Spotify said, “Today’s deal with T-Series significantly strengthens our Indian music catalogue, bringing Bollywood to more than 200 million Spotify users worldwide.”
Spotify is probably going to rely on its free tier to get new customers eventually converting them to paid subscriptions. This kind of makes sense since consumers in India rely on free music especially YouTube or other free services like Gaana and Saavn.
On the other hand, it will also have a hard time against premium services. Apple had offered three months of free subscription when it launched in India. Spotify will not only have to give a better deal here, but the company has to offer better pricing compared to its competitors. Currently, Apple Music charges Rs 129 per month, and Amazon Music is offering its service as a part of Prime Service which stands at Rs 999 per year.