Google joins race into India’s booming online music market

YouTube is already India’s most popular online music source via its free mainstay video service (AFP pic)

MUMBAI: Google has introduced its YouTube music app in India, offering local and global songs to a booming market that saw the entry of Spotify just a few days ago.

The YouTube Music streaming and download service in India includes popular Bollywood Hindi scores and other local-language music, the Mountainview, California-based technology giant said in a blog post.

The free service is supported by commercials, while a premium version with no advertisements costs 99 rupees (US$1.42) a month.

YouTube is already India’s most popular online music source via its free mainstay video service.

In the paid streaming niche, the music app is challenging rivals including Stockholm-based Spotify Technology SA, Amazon.com and JioSaavn, Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s music service.

While streaming services have about 100 million users in India, only a tiny fraction of that pays.

Industry sales in India climbed 17% in 2017, driven by increases in online subscription revenue.

Google’s free streaming platform gained momentum with music fans by adding a channel for T-Series, which calls itself the country’s largest record label, and which has become the world’s most-watched YouTube channel.