Spotify inks content deal with T-Series for Indian music

Spotify inks content deal with T-Series for Indian music
Photo Credit: Photo Credit: Pixabay
15 Jan, 2019

Swedish music streaming app Spotify has entered into a global content deal with music label T-Series, ending months of speculation about its Indian interests.

In a tweet on Monday, Spotify said all T-Series music will now be available on its platform. This amounts to more than 16,000 songs, according to the tweet. T-Series was started by the late Bollywood film producer Gulshan Kumar in the 1980s.

For Spotify, the deal is being widely seen as taking it a step closer to enter the India market. Talk of the Swedish firm’s India entry had been going on for the past few months, especially after Spotify co-founder Daniel Ek said in March last year that the company would enter large markets including India, Russia and Africa.

If and when Spotify does launch its India operations, it will join global music streaming services operating in the country such as Apple Music and Amazon Music, which entered the country as part of the Prime offering last year.

Spotify will also compete with hyper-funded Indian players including JioSaavn, the merged entity of Reliance-backed JioMusic and Tiger Global-backed Saavn valued at $1 billion; Times Internet- and Tencent-backed Gaana, which raised $115 million in February; and Bharti Airtel-owned Wynk.

India has an estimated 220 million users of live music streaming. According to global management consulting firm The Boston Consulting Group, 70% of revenue from India’s music market comes from digital services, pegging it at a $100-million opportunity. This is estimated to grow to $500 million by 2020.

Spotify has done well in North America because it has developed a strong recommendation engine that selects artists and a sound user interface. This has to be replicated in India for the global player to make money. Companies like Gaana, too, are opening up their platform to artists, promoting discoverability for users.

After North Africa and West Asia, India will give Spotify access to a large user base. Recently, video streaming player Netflix had considered reducing the subscription rate for the Indian market.

In India, Spotify will have to price its services keeping in mind the rates of its local competitors, which is Rs 99 per month by Gaana and Rs 129 by Amazon Prime Music per month, to name a few. Amazon bundles its music streaming service with other benefits like faster delivery and its video offering.

Also read: Can music streaming apps hit the right notes in India with specialised content?