Spotify makes India debut with multi-language music recommendations

Music streaming service Spotify is now available in India, with features tuned to Indian music fans’ personal tastes. Spotify is the fourth major foreign audio over-the-top (OTT) player in the Indian recorded music market, following Google Play Music, Amazon Prime Music and iTunes/Apple Music. 

There are others, but these three corner the market as far as foreign players are concerned. Among the Indian players, Hungama Music, JioSaavn, Gaana, and Wynk have managed to make a mark.

Spotify can be downloaded for free and users can upgrade to Spotify Premium for Rs 119 per month. It can be accessed on mobile, desktop and tablet and can be played on a wide range of speakers and home devices. The premium service allows users to access music offline and does away with advertisements. In the free version, music can be streamed, but not downloaded or accessed offline and playlists are interspersed with advertisements. 

Currently, the app is running ads of its premium features every three to five songs but will be launching commercial ads in the coming weeks.  OnePlus, Brand USA, and Anheuser-Busch InBev will have exclusive rights to launch their advertising campaigns on Spotify India. 
While Amazon Music is a free service, with every Amazon Prime subscription (Rs 999 a year), Google Play Music costs Rs 99 a month, while iTunes/Apple Music costs around Rs 120 a month (individual plan). 

A recent report by Deloitte values the recorded music industry in India at Rs 850 crore (for calendar 2017). Of this, Rs 665 crore (78.5 per cent) comes from digital streams. Audio OTT accounts for Rs 567 of the Rs 850 crore, according to the report. Digital revenues have been the key factor in reviving the recorded music industry that has seen steep decline in physical sales over the past few years. 

Amarjit Singh Batra, managing director, Spotify India, says, “Our Spotify Premium pricing in India is in line with current music subscription offerings. Spotify needs to offer a music service that’s fairly priced in each country we enter. Our ability to establish revenues in markets new to streaming and getting people to pay for music regularly is well established. If you check other global apps that deliver a music experience, the price is similar.”
With an estimated 150 million audio OTT users in the country, the user penetration is at 6.4 per cent according to Deloitte, which gives players — Indian and foreign — enough room for expansion. The report adds that the average time spent consuming music per week in India is ahead of the global average (17.8 hours) at 21.5 hours.

“Spotify’s entry into India is welcome. India is very big market and a huge opportunity. There is enough of space for every OTT player and we look forward to Spotify launching their subscription model in India, which has worked well throughout the world,” says Blaise Fernandes, president and CEO, Indian Music Industry (an industry body for recorded music in India). 

Spotify comes to India with its mix of features, including a library of more than 40 million songs and 3 billion playlists in Indian and international music, across moods and moments. Users can explore integrations with other apps like Google Maps, Tinder and Instagram, among others. 

Siddhartha Roy, COO, Hungama Digital Media, says, “The Indian music streaming market has witnessed sizeable growth in terms of users and consumption on the back of improved connectivity and inexpensive data plans. In 2018, Hungama Music witnessed a 48 per cent growth in user base. The evolution of the market has created more opportunities for platforms, Indian and international, to grow and expand. It will be exciting to see the dynamism that a new global player will bring to the industry.”

Spotify has redesigned the music experience for India with a fresh set of exclusive features

  • Multi-language music recommendations: With many Indians speaking several local languages, Spotify’s music recommendation engine can now be tuned to Hindi, Punjabi, Tamil and Telugu.
  • Indian users can select their preferred language(s) to receive tailored Daily Mix, Home, Radio, Search results and recommendations.

  • Spotify Free with total control: For the first time ever on Spotify Free, smartphone users can play every song on demand.
  • Playlists made for India: Curated and regularly updated playlists by a team of Indian music experts

  • Spotify goes to the movies: A series of playlists featuring the best music from the most popular Bollywood, Tollywood, Kollywood, and Punjabi actors. Spotify’s recommendations will also include songs from India’s favourite movies and actors.

  • City playlists: Find out what's hot in the city, with new algorithmic playlists tracking what’s trending in Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore and Chennai.

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