Spotify’s Official India Debut
Spotify is finally officially available in India, and it’s offering Indian music fans a perk available nowhere else in the world — the ability to play any song on-demand on the free version of the smartphone app.
Spotify began rolling out its app in India on Tuesday, and the company announced Wednesday morning local time that it was available on Apple’s App Store for iOS and Google Play store for Android devices.
The unique Spotify Free feature for India — giving users on-demand access to over 40 million tracks on smartphones — may have been a sticking point in the streaming music giant’s ongoing dispute with Warner Music Group. Spotify was unable to reach a direct licensing deal with WMG for India and is for now relying on statutory licensing for the use of music from Warner’s catalog. In other countries, including the U.S., only Spotify Premium members have the mobile on-demand feature.
Earlier Tuesday, Spotify revealed the pricing for Premium service in India, which strips out ads. The service costs 119 rupees (around $1.67) per month. Spotify also offers other billing plans, including single-day access and prepaid plans for three months (Rs 389), six months (Rs 719) and 12 months (Rs 1,189). Students are eligible for a 50% discount on Spotify Premium plans.
Leading up to the launch, Spotify also inked a licensing pact with T-Series, India’s leading music and film company, for T-Series’ entire Indian catalog of over 160,000 songs, including Bollywood and regional movie soundtracks, non-film albums and emerging artist content.
Spotify’s customized features for the Indian market include: multi-language music recommendations (Hindi, Punjabi, Tamil and Telugu); playlists made for India including Indiestan, Rap91, Namaste Love, Punjabi101, Bollywood Butter, and Top Hits in Hindi, Tamil, Telugu and Punjabi; and “Starring…,” a series of playlists featuring music from top Bollywood, Tollywood, Kollywood, and Punjabi actors. In addition, Spotify’s app in India includes city playlists with new algorithmic playlists tracking what’s trending in Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore and Chennai.
As in other territories, Spotify’s focus for India was to blend “global culture” while also allowing room for local adaptation, according to global head of markets Cecilia Qvist.
“We’ve worked closely with local teams of musicians, creators and cultural tastemakers to ensure Spotify is going to be loved, used and favored by people all over India whether they’re listening to local Bollywood and Punjabi hits, or discovering curated global playlists of K-pop or reggaeton,” Qvist said as part of the launch announcement.
A video Spotify created for the India launch includes shout-outs from Indian artists including Armaan Malik, Neha Kakkar, Amit Trivedi, Salim Sulaiman, Anirudh, Badshah, Vishal Shekhar and Jonita Gandhi as well as global music stars Katy Perry, BTS, Selena Gomez, The Chainsmokers and Zedd.
As of the end of 2018, Spotify reported 207 million total users, including 96 million Spotify Premium subscribers, across 79 markets. Its competitors include Apple Music, Google Play/YouTube Music and Amazon Prime Music — each of which have already launched India, where Spotify also is going up against local streaming services like Gaana, JioSaavn and Wynk Music.