Spotify is an extremely popular music streaming service despite its limited availability globally. Of late, Spotify has been focusing on a massive global expansion and it had recently announced launching its services in 13 new markets in the Middle East and North Africa. For so long, India has been out of Spotify's expansion plans, but that changes now.
According to a recent report by Variety, Spotify is planning to launch in Indi as early as next year. Earlier reports had indicated that Spotify wanted to buy out a local market player in India but upon failing to do so, it is now entering the world's second most populous country on its own.
With cheaper data plans and significantly-fast adoption of smartphones, Spotify has an opportunity worth seizing. But it won't be an easy road for Spotify to succeed in India, mainly due to the intense competition from the likes of Gaana, Saavn, Apple Music and Amazon Prime Music.
But Spotify has been studying the Indian market for quite some time now. Spotify had announced in March that it hired 300 people in its new office in Mumbai, which hinted at a possible launch sooner than later. It looks like all those plans are finally nearing fruition.
According to a separate report by Bloomberg, Spotify has secured deals with major music rights holders in India, including T-Series, which has the most-watched YouTube channel. Confirming the partnership, Bhushan Kumar, MD of T-Series, said the "deal with them is on."
More than entering India and signing up as many record labels as possible, Spotify's biggest concern should be convincing Indians to pay for its services. According to the report, streaming services have nearly 100 million users in India, but only a small number pay for the services or opt for premium packages.
Spotify's plans in the U.S. cost $9.99 per month, which is certainly a lot when compared to competing services in India. But the company has reportedly devised an extended free trial period for new customers to fully access Spotify in India. The plan is to lure new customers with a free tier and then convert them into paying customers, a strategy that has worked in Spotify's favour in other markets.
Spotify currently has 87 million paying customers, contributing to the company's 90 percent of revenue. The company is targeting 200 million users and have 96 million premium customers by the end of this year, which seems bleak at the moment but could surpass the targets next year.