One of the most popular music apps in Europe and the Americas, Spotify recently added 13 countries in the Middle East and North Africa to expand its global presence to 78 markets as of November 14. The company’s plan to enter India through an acquisition failed after those talks collapsed.
In its second attempt, Stockholm based Spotify is going solo and has hired over 300 employees in India, including former Olx India CEO Amarjit Singh Batra as country head, and has taken up a large office space in Mumbai. Batra did not respond to ET’s text messages and calls seeking a response till press time.
In its earlier attempt, Spotify could not get Indian labels to share their music, a senior music industry executive told ET.
“India is very different… and here you can’t run a music service without T-Series. So far, they have had only small labels, so a launch was difficult,” the person said on condition of anonymity.
T-Series is close to signing a deal with Spotify, Bhushan Kumar, managing director of T-Series, told ET. “We are in the final stages of negotiations for a two-year deal. Our music will be available in the international markets on Spotify in the first quarter and later in India, when they launch here,” Kumar said.
Times Music has an international deal with Spotify and is in talks for an agreement on India, COO Mandar Thakur said. Times Music is a part of the Times Group, which publishes The Economic Times and owns music streaming service Gaana. “We are in active negotiations for India with them. As and when (Spotify) launch in India, we are hopeful to be available,” Thakur said.
Executives at Eros International and Zee Music confirmed that talks are on with Spotify.
Industry experts said the Indian market will be tough for Spotify as it is already dominated by services including Gaana, which passed 75 million users this year, Saavn, Hungama, Airtel-owned Wynk and global services Apple Music, Google Play and Amazon Music.
Spotify has 87 million paid subscribers and its monthly active users grew 28% to 191 million at the end of the third quarter, of which 109 million were ad-supported. It posted an operating loss of € 6 million in Q3 on revenue of € 1.35 billion
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