Spotify steps into the crowded Indian market

A trader is reflected in a computer screen with the Spotify brand before the company begins with the sale of a direct placement on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in New York, USA, 3 April 2018. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

(Reuters) – Spotify, the world’s most popular paid music streaming service, launched in India on Tuesday, to participate in a price sensitive market populated by well-funded local players as JioSaavn and Apple Music.

The Swedish company said it will offer a free version of the streaming app that will run with ads, in addition to a premium ad-free version that will charge users 119 Indian rupees ($1.67) per month.

The same plans in the United States start at $9.99, € 11.37 in France and $13.30 in the United Kingdom. Indian users can also choose Spotify Premium for a day for 18 cents.

Spotify is late to stream in India. Apple Inc. launched in 2015, followed by the Alphabet Inc Google Play Music in 2017 and Inc. ‘ s Prime Music last year.

With more than 400 million smartphone users, the market is potentially huge. About 96 percent of the consumers in India and China, listening to music, a license, according to a report from the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, an organization that defends the interests of the recording industry worldwide.

Large global technology players, however, had to work hard to win market share in the country, whose population of 1.3 billion, ranks around 120th worldwide in terms of annual income.

Home-grown rivals such as JioSaavn, owned by Reliance Industries; Wynk Music, owned by Bharti Airtel; and Gaana, funded by Tencent Holdings are already well established and the prices are low.

According to reports in the media, Gaana, leads the Indian streaming market with more than 80 million monthly users. Spotify has 207 million users worldwide and 96 million subscribers.

In January, Spotify has announced a collaboration with India’s biggest music label T-Series, giving it access to a catalog of more than 160,000 songs.

Reporting Chandini Monnappa, Vibhuti Sharma and Munsif Vengattil in Bengaluru; Editing by shailesh Kuber

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