The time Spotify came to India!

I recently switched from my phone’s in-built music streaming app to Spotify and I am not disappointed. I knew I wouldn’t be. Like any Indian I had eagerly been waiting for it to launch in India because its the most popular and probably the best app there is to stream music. The company has been planning on expanding into big markets like India for a while now. However its arrival in India has not been easy and smooth.

The company needed to make new deals with Indian labels and expand the international ones to include India. It was supposed to launch at the end of January but didn’t even after it made a deal with T-series, the biggest music label in India. Spotify finally came to India in February.

Going Off-topic: T-series has the most subscribed YouTube channel, something I am extremely unhappy about. YouTube started as a place for individual content creators and it should remain that way. (in my opinion)

You may have heard about its legal problems with Warner Music Group, if not then you may have noticed that the app does not offer many songs from artists like Bruno Mars, Cardi B, Katy Perry, Led Zepplin and others under the label. People had started complaining on Twitter about it too. The legal battle is still ongoing as I write this.

I tried finding Bruno Mars’ songs.

This expansion in India is important for Spotify. India is a huge market of 1.3 billion people that are increasingly coming online because of cheap data and improved speeds. We are spending an increasing amount of time on our smartphones. So naturally everyone wants a piece of this lucrative market.

Apart from the legal problems, Spotify faces unique challenges in India. It needs to have both, the Bollywood and regional music as well as Western pop music because the industry is diverse here. Spotify said that Arijit Singh was their most requested artist in the first week that they launched last month. Compounding to this Indians don’t want to pay for online content. There is a huge amount of piracy.(Guilty!)

The Billboard I see everyday on my walk to the classes.

In the last couple of years though subscriptions to streaming services are growing. Not just for music, Netflix and Prime Video too have expanded in India. Competition is intense. Local apps are major in the market like Saavn, Gaana with some international ones like Google Play Music, Apple Music and Amazon Prime Music. But the leading choice of Indians is rather interesting, its Youtube. (Because its free) Spotify had to adapt its product to suit India. It changed price and payment methods among other things. India is the only place where the free Ad supported version of the smartphone app lets you stream music. In other countries that’s something you have to pay for. One can use Paytm to pay for their premium subscription(which is cheaper), again unique to India.

Arijit Singh was the most requested, Ariana Grande was the second most requested. We really are a weird market.

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