Spotify, which finally launched in India last Tuesday — albeit without securing a deal with Warner Music — after months of delays, says that it has reached 1 million users on both its paid and free tiers in just under a week.
While India’s market is already dominated by local services like Gaana (which in August said it passed 75 million users and in February secured $115 million in funding from China’s behemoth Tencent and Times Internet), Saavn, Hungama and others, not to mention well-funded American services like Google Play, Apple Music and Amazon, Spotify has doggedly pursued cornering at least part of the market in the world’s second-most-populous country.
Its pricing in the terriroty is far below what the company is charging consumers elsewhere: Its premium service will be free for 30 days and then will be 119 rupees (around $1.67) per month. In addition, Spotify is also offering a variety of other billing plans, including single-day access, as well as pre-paid plans for 3 months (Rs 389), 6 month (Rs 719) a whole year (Rs 1,189). Students receive a 50% discount.
Spotify’s launch in India comes amid a continued battle with Warner Music over licensing fees. Spotify was able to secure direct licensing agreements with Sony Music and Universal for the Indian market, but couldn’t come to an agreement with Warner. Instead, the music service is relying on statutory licensing for the use of music from Warner’s catalog.
In response, Warner filed for an injunction; Spotify claimed on Tuesday that the injunction was denied by a local court, with Warner contending that this was untrue. The court reportedly asked Spotify to maintain records on the use of any of Warner’s repertoire.
Asked about the dispute with Warner Music, McCarthy said: “We’re having a food fight with Warner. I can’t comment on the legal aspects of it… It’s not really about India; it’s about leverage and renegotiation of the global agreement.” Warner, however, takes the dispute more seriously and has questioned the value of striking a deal with Spotify in a territory where its pricing and royalty rates will garner its artists a pittance, even by streaming’s standards.