Spotify tries its hand in price conscious India

A trader is reflected in a computer screen displaying the Spotify brand before the company begins selling as a direct listing on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in New York, U.S., April 3, 2018. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/File Photo

(Reuters) – Spotify, the world’s most popular paid music streaming service, has launched in India, stepping into a price-sensitive market crowded by well-funded local players like JioSaavn and Apple Music.

The Swedish company said it will offer a free version of the streaming app that will run with ads, alongside 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 opt for Spotify Premium for a day for 18 cents.

Spotify is coming late to streaming in India. Apple Inc launched in 2015, followed by Alphabet Inc’s 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 consumers in India and China listen to licensed music, according to a report by International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, an organization that represents the interests of the recording industry globally.

Big global technology players, however, have had to work hard to win market share in the country, whose population of 1.3 billion ranks around 120th globally 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 prices are low.

According to media reports, Gaana leads the Indian streaming market with over 80 million monthly users. Spotify has 207 million users globally and 96 million subscribers.

In January, Spotify had announced a partnership with India’s largest music label T-Series, giving it access to a catalog of over 160,000 songs.

($1 = 71.2910 Indian rupees)

(Reporting by Chandini Monnappa, Vibhuti Sharma and Munsif Vengattil in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)

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