Spotify was widely expected to be launched in India on January 31, with hundreds of users eagerly waiting for the arrival of one of the most popular music streaming services in the world. But the due date of the impending launch passed and there was no word from Spotify on plans to launch its service in India, disappointing many in the process.
If you've been one of those waiting to use Spotify in India without the help of VPN services and wondering what went wrong, here are some probable factors. But it must be noted that Spotify is indeed coming to India, it's just that the official launch date hasn't been finalised yet.
If the latest reports are to be believed, Spotify is considering its debut in India sometime in March. But the same sources infer that nothing is concrete as of now. While potential subscribers await Spotify's release in India, here's everything you need to know – from reasons behind the delay, expected pricing and launch offers.
Why did Spotify miss Jan. 31 launch date for India?
Firstly, Spotify never publicly announced that it will be launching its service in India on January 31. The launch date was revealed by informed sources, which aren't 100 percent accurate all the time. Spotify might have had plans but seeing some challenges the service faces in India, it seems wise to delay the much-awaited launch.
Spotify has signed a deal with renowned Indian label, T-Series, which has the world's second-biggest YouTube channel. The partnership makes sense for Spotify India as T-Series is home to 160,000 Bollywood songs.
But Spotify hasn't been able to convince other major labels, Sony, Universal and Warner, to get on board with its India plans. While initial reports suggested Spotify would launch in India without them, the delayed launch could only mean the music streaming service is trying to ink a deal with these three music labels before its big debut in India.
So, it's safe to assume Spotify will launch its services in India as soon as it completes its deals with Sony, Universal and Warner.
In addition to that, Spotify is currently available in English only, which may be the case until the launch. But the popular streaming service could add music in five languages, including Punjabi, Malayalam, Bengali, Tamil and Telugu, shortly after launch. This is essential for Spotify to attract the masses in India with regional content and its global strategy won't reap as many benefits in India as it does internationally due to stiff competition from major services like JioSaavn and Gaana. Even then, Spotify will fall short in terms of local content library as JioSaavn has 45 million songs in 15 languages with expansion plans in the offing.
Free trial and subscription plans
Like most services, Spotify will also offer a free trial post its launch in India. But if the reports are to be believed, Spotify's free trial will extend beyond 30 days – a standard for a free trial for most services.
Once the free trial ends, Spotify's subscription plans will kick in. According to reports, users will have to pay Rs 140 per month to continue using the service. As compared to Spotify's international plans, where it costs $9.99 per month, the subscription plan in India seems reasonable. Spotify could offer other tiers for paying subscribers, but the details remain to be seen.
Even then, Spotify faces stiff competition from JioSaavn, which is offering 90-day free trial followed by Rs 99 a month plan. For a full year, JioSaavn charges Rs 999, which works out at Rs 83 a month. Similarly, Apple Music charges users Rs 120 a month in India, while another major rival for Spotify in India is Amazon Prime Music, which is a part of Rs 999-worth Prime loyalty programme.
Will Spotify emerge as a winner despite stiff competition in India? We just have to wait and watch.