Spotify launches in India in spite of Warner legal battle

Almost a year after announcing its intention to enter the country, Spotify fights Warner injunction and rolls out its service in India, as it continues its global expansion outside the West


Spotify launched its music streaming service in India on February 27, almost a year after the company first announced its intention to make its service available in the world's second-most populated country.

The music streaming giant, who finally went public last year, has developed its service to be "finely tuned to music fans personal taste". This means exclusive features such as playlists specifically made for an Indian audience by a team of Indian music experts and movie playlists from the most popular Bollywood, Tollywood, Kollywood and Punjabi actors. Since many Indians speak several local languages, Spotify has also introduced multi-language music recommendations in Hindi, Punjabi, Tamil and Telug.

For the first time ever, the company has also allowed Indian users who do not pay for a subscription to play any song on demand on mobile, as part of a service called Spotify Free, while the premium service is priced at INR119 ($1.67) a month.

"The mobile internet revolution has led to a rapid rise in the number of connected Indians, making music streaming the preferred way to enjoy music here," commented Amarjit Singh Batra, managing director of Spotify India.

Spotify founder and CEO Daniel Ek added: "As Spotify grows, our goal is to bring millions of artists and billions of fans together from every country and background. India has an incredibly rich music culture, and to best serve this market, we're launching a custom-built experience. Not only will Spotify bring Indian artists to the world, we'll also bring the world's music to fans across India. Spotify's music family just got a whole lot bigger."

However, the Indian launch has been far from smooth. Spotify has been locked in a months-long legal battle with Warner's publishing division, Warner/Chappell Music, ever since a deal between the companies fell apart at the last minute as, according to Spotify, Warner "revoked a previously agreed-upon publishing license for reasons wholly unrelated to Spotify's launch in India".

Warner then went on to file an injection against Spotify, claiming that the service had "falsely asserted a statutory license" in India. However, the injunction was denied on February 26 allowing Spotify to roll out its service in the country.

With a population of around 1.3 billion people, the Indian streaming market has huge potential, as internet users continue to soar. Spotify has more than 207 million active users across the globe, but it is currently trying to expand outside of European and North American markets as it searches for new subscribers.

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