Spotify reaches one million subscribers… In India


Even if you don’t use it, you would have at least heard of Spotify. The music streaming app is a huge hit in the US and other regions as well. It takes away the need to fill up your smartphone with music, rather opting for a more on-demand method. Recently, Spotify launched in India as well.

Spotify recently launched their streaming service in India as well (Image Credits: Time Magazine)

According to a representative of Spotify, the music streaming platform now has 1 million users in India. These 1 million are a combination of both free and paid premium accounts. In case you didn’t know, anyone can simply sign up for a free Spotify account. But this comes with certain limitations.

With Spotify Free, you can listen to music, but you will hear ads between tracks on both PC and mobile. Found your favorite album? Well, you won’t be able to listen to the songs in order as Spotify Free only allows Shuffle Play as a playback method.

Spotify Premium takes away all the limitations of a free Spotify account, for a price (Image Credits: hiresaudio)

Further, you can’t skip tracks in an album or download tracks to listen offline either. Spotify Free also only gives you regular quality audio playback as opposed to high quality streaming. Spotify Premium, however, takes away all these limitations and gives users the full streaming experience.

Streaming services in India are dirt cheap

If you thought Spotify entered the Indian market to make revenue, you might be mistaken. While an Apple Music subscription starts off at $9.99 in the US, it costs only around $1.69 in India. Spotify is making things even more interesting by pricing their subscription at $1.67. Even with cutthroat pricing, can Spotify appeal to the Indian market?

Does Spotify stand a chance in India?

That is indeed an interesting question. For starters, India’s population is around 1.34 billion. Out of this, only around 150 Million have subscribed to an online music streaming service. Breaking that number down even further, only around 1% of this 150 Million actually pay for a streaming subscription.

There are also around 14% of the 150 Million that have a bundled subscription. The remaining 85% stream music via free subscriptions. As you probably figured by now, Spotify reaching 1 million users is not such a big deal.

Even though Spotify hit 1 Million users, that’s not such a big deal (Image Credits: Rolling Stone)

In addition, one could also argue that while it is “about time” that the streaming service landed in India, there’s no doubt that they are a tad late to the party. In addition, they are also entering into a market that is dominated by competitors such as Apple Music, Amazon and Google Play.

In addition, there’s the local competition such as Gaana and JioSaavan (a merger between Saavan Media Pvt Ltd and Reliance Jio). These two alone cater to around 80 million subscribers, which is almost half of the 150 million subscribers we mentioned above.

Gaana is a popular app in India for music streaming (Image Credits: Amazon)

Then there’s the legal issues for Spotify as well

Amidst all this, Spotify is also undergoing a legal issue as well. The streaming platform is in discussion with Warner, one of the three largest music labels in the US (the others being Sony and UMG). The topic of discussion is whether they can stream Warner’s massive collection of music in India. Spotify needs to work out terms and conditions for their global licensing deals with the three giants in order to stream the music that is controlled by these companies.

Spotify and Warner are seemingly at war with each other (Image Credits: Billboard)

The trouble started when Warner revoked a previous license for India. In case you were wondering, existing deals don’t cover expansion into new territories. So, with Spotify entering a new market, they need to work out a new deal. Spotify aimed to overcome this problem by using a rather controversial amendment to Indian law.

According to the law, broadcasters (in this case, Spotify) can obtain a license for content that is copyright protected, even if the original owner denies it. Warner, of course, was not quite happy with this and requested an injunction to Spotify.

What does this mean to Indian users?

Well, obviously, it means that users in India will not have access to music licensed under Warner. But this many not be such a big deal after all. The most popular genre streamed or listened to in India is Bollywood, closely followed by other Indian film music. By comparison, English pop music is ranked 5th.

Even if certain Bollywood music were under Warner, users could simply use the local platforms and stream the music. Although it does get problematic if you’re citizen of India and you want to access music that is part of Warner.

What about Spotify in Sri Lanka?

Well, that’s an answer that a lot of us are waiting for. Though not officially available in Sri Lanka, Spotify has been made to work in Sri Lanka via a number of techniques. The most popular of these is to sign up for a Spotify account by means of a VPN with your location set to the US. In addition, there is also a black market of sorts where Spotify Premium accounts are sold for extremely cheap prices.

Spotify is not available in Sri Lanka -cries-

These bring their own share of issues. For example, the app can log you out after a while and you would need to run the VPN app again. In addition, there’s no guarantee that the Premium accounts would work after being purchased, or the original owner might change the username/password.

While there is nothing wrong in using a VPN app, we recommend using only VPN apps that are from trusted sources such as the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store. In addition, we don’t recommend purchasing Spotify Premium accounts from unknown parties, no matter how cheap they are. As the saying goes, “cheap things no good, good things no cheap”.

There are alternatives such as Deezer and Apple Music if you’re really intent on subscribing to a streaming service. While they offer more or less the same experience, the content available may not always be as wide as Spotfiy.

For those on the lookout for a streaming app, Deezer is a good alternative (Image Credits GettyImages)

I for one am entirely okay with signing up for a Spotify premium account, if Spotify was available in Sri Lanka. Perhaps one day, it will be. I guess one can always dream.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here