×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Spotify Postpones Launch in India

As January 31st wound down in India, there was still no sign of the blowout party that Spotify had planned to celebrate its long-anticipated launch in the country, which multiple sources told Variety was scheduled to take place today. That launch was postponed within the past few days, according to a source close to the situation, with a new date slated for either February or March.

A rep for the company declined requests for comment.

Some sources say the delay was because the streaming giant has not yet locked down deals for the country with the three major-label groups — Sony, Universal and Warner — although this was not confirmed at press time, and it’s possible that Spotify could have launched in the country without them. Those companies are not as big in India as they are in many other countries, and the announcement earlier this month that Spotify has inked a content deal with T-Series, the country’s leading music and film company, ensures that it will be rolling out with plenty of popular content.

However, Spotify’s launch in India hinges on additional deals that are yet to be finalized. While the app will be available in English, the company hopes to expand into different regional music markets in India, a country with 1.33 billion people and dozens of dialects — music in five languages is expected to be available on the initial launch. While the partnership with T-series covers a wide range of commercial Hindi music, including Bollywood soundtracks, the main regional music dominating India includes Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Bengali, which likely means connections with labels specializing in those languages.

Just before Spotify’s public listing last March, the company announced that it had opened an office in Mumbai and hired 300 people, but it faces a steep challenge in India. As Variety reported in November, it will launch with an extended free trial period that sources say will be significantly longer than the 30 days of full-access that was offered in Vietnam and South Africa in 2018. While a Financial Times report earlier this month said that the length of the free-trial period was a major cause of the holdup, a source tells Variety that the sticking point is actually the royalty Spotify initially offered for the free-trial period, which is said to be dramatically lower than the local services are paying.

Even if the licensing is secured, more obstacles remain. In addition to the fierce competition from local streamers like Saavn and Gaana (which sources say Spotify had considered purchasing in the past), Spotify could be staring down a potentially slow conversion from free to premium, and large sections of the country have broadband difficulties; although Internet access is inexpensive in India, infrastructure is still developing in many areas. However, Spotify faced similar challenges in Indonesia and Africa, and launched in those territories anyway.

 

More Digital

  • The Frontier

    Conecta Fiction: Project Pitches Prizes Passed Out in Pamplona

    On Wednesday evening the Spanish city of Pamplona was overrun, not by bulls, but by hopeful TV creators who had spent the early week pitching their projects at Conecta Fiction, and who anxiously waited to find out the titles which would take home silverware. Meanwhile, “Monzón,” a Disney-Pampa-Incaa production portraying the tragic violence of Argentine [...]

  • YouTube logo

    Why Splitting Up YouTube Is a Terrible Idea

    Facing mounting pressure over failures to protect children from inappropriate content, Google is reportedly considering a number of changes to its video sharing site YouTube. The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that one of the ideas circulated internally was to effectively split up YouTube, and spin out all children’s content into the existing YouTube Kids [...]

  • Niantic's Harry Potter: Wizards Unite Game

    ‘Harry Potter: Wizards Unite’ to Launch This Week

    “Pokemon Go” maker Niantic is getting ready to launch its next big game: “Harry Potter: Wizards Unite” is set to launch in June 21, the company revealed in a tweet this week. The worldwide launch of Harry Potter: Wizards Unite begins this Friday, June 21! Keep your eyes peeled and wand ready for more information [...]

  • google podcast creator program

    Google, PRX Unveil Second Slate of Their Podcasts Creator Program (EXCLUSIVE)

    Roughly a year after first unveiling its podcasts creator program, Google is renewing its commitment to train budding podcasters. Together with public radio and podcast distributor PRX, Google has chosen 6 podcasters from around the world to participate in the next round of the creator program. The podcasts included in the second cohort are “37 [...]

  • Camila Cabello

    Camila Cabello Reveals Podcast Obsessions, Teases New Album at Cannes Lions

    Camila Cabello was the featured speaker at a Tuesday afternoon panel at Cannes Lions, the annual gathering of marketing, design and entertainment professionals in the south of France. Joined by Spotify chief content officer Dawn Ostroff, the talk, moderated by Variety editor Shirley Halperin, was centered around the theme of the golden age of sound [...]

  • Meg Whitman and Jeffrey Katzenberg

    Quibi Has Already Booked $100 Million in Ad Sales, Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman Say

    Quibi, the ambitious short-form video venture from Jeffrey Katzenberg and CEO Meg Whitman, has sold $100 million in upfront ad inventory with six advertisers ahead of its April 2020 debut. Advertisers that have committed ad spending to Quibi include Google, Procter & Gamble, PepsiCo, Walmart, Progressive and AB InBev, according to the company. The $100 [...]

  • China's iQIYI Signs Content, Channel Pact

    China's iQIYI Signs Content, Channel Pact With Malaysia's Astro

    Astro Malaysia, Malaysia’s leading pay-TV operator, has struck a strategic agreement with Chinese streaming platform iQIYI. Astro obtains the exclusive rights to deliver iQIYI content on TV, on-demand and via OTT in Malaysia. It will launch the first iQIYI-branded channel comprising iQIYI’s extensive slate of original content from drama to variety shows and movies. Astro [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content