MUMBAI: Spotify announced Wednesday its much-anticipated launch into India, offering Bollywood and regional content as it seeks to attract millions of new users onto the world’s largest music streaming platform.
The Swedish company enters a fast-growing and competitive market, with Asia’s richest man among the entrants trying to tap into the appetite for music by tech-savvy Indians.
Spotify is offering Indian users a free trial period followed by subscriptions for 119 rupees (US$1.68) a month — a fraction of the cost for European and US customers.
Company founder Daniel Ek promised a “custom-built experience” with all-new features tailored for the Indian music lover.
“Not only will Spotify bring Indian artists to the world, but we will also bring the world’s music to fans across India,” Ek said in a statement.
The launch was stalled earlier this week as Warner Music Group filed an injunction in a local court over a licensing dispute.
Streaming has rapidly transformed the music industry around the world by providing unlimited, on-demand songs online.
Spotify will offer its music recommendations in four regional languages, new playlists specifically for Indian listeners and trending tracks from the country’s vibrant film scene.
Spotify’s foray into India — where cheap smartphones and data packages are bringing millions online for the first time — excited industry watchers keen to reach new markets.
“India is a big market and a huge opportunity for Spotify,” Blaise Fernandes, president of Indian Music Industry, an industry body, told AFP.
It is the latest expansion for Spotify, which most recently launched in Southeast Asia, the Middle East and North Africa, and boasts 200 million users in 79 markets.
Spotify, the global leader, will compete against Google, whose online music-app currently dominates in India.
There are also other players searching for their cut, including Reliance Jio which acquired Indian music streaming platform Saavn in late 2018.
Reliance — launched by Asia’s richest man Mukesh Ambani in 2016 — said the integration of Saavn with its own music app, Jio Music, was worth US$1 billion.
Saavvn offered a vast catalogue of songs across 15 languages but like many streaming apps, including Spotify, Saavn struggled to turn rapid growth into profit.