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Spotify working on India launch confirms CEO Daniel Ek

Daniel Ek Spotify

Music streaming major Spotify is working on launching its service in India, co-founder and CEO Daniel Ek confirmed during the company’s investor day presentation. “We are working on launching in some of the biggest markets in the world, including India, Russia and Africa,” Ek said during the presentation.

Details on the supposed launch though are very thin as Ek did not announce any specific time frame for launching in the country.

Spotify which is about to go public soon via a method known as ‘direct listing’ had, in its public offering filing, disclosed some additional details about its presence in India. In the filing, the company mentioned that it has leased office space in India, and indicated that it has dedicated employees in India as well, though the company didn’t mention any number. With regard to the process Spotify follows before entering a new market, it said:

Before launching in a new market, we typically optimize the local Spotify experience for local music preferences. We seek to obtain the rights to popular local content and have local curators where it makes sense.

The Economic Times had reported that Spotify has hired Akshat Harbola as the head of its India operations.

Spotify in numbers

The company posted revenues of €4.09 billion in FY17, as compared to €2.95 billion in FY16, and €1.94 billion in FY15. However, its losses doubled to €1.24 billion in FY17, from €539 million in FY16. In FY15, it had reported losses of €230 million.

As of December 31, 2017, Spotify operated in 61 countries and has 159 million monthly active users (MAUs), of which 71 million are premium or paid subscribers. While Spotify’s ad-supported service had 92 million MAUs, premium subscribers grew 46% year-on-year (YoY) from December 2016, while MAUs grew 29% YoY.

The competition

Amazon launched its Prime Music service in India last month across a multitude of devices and platforms. The music service is offered as part of Amazon’s Prime membership. Prime Music has content deals with music label such as T-Series, Venus MusicSony MusicSaregama, and Zee Music Company.

Apple Music, Spotify’s major global rival is also available in India for a subscription fee of Rs 120 per month. Apple Music is available on a multitude of platforms including Android phones/tablets and Windows PCs, which is out character for Apple whose services are restricted to its own walled gardens.

Another major player in India, the Times Internet owned Gaana announced last month that it has raised funding of $115 million from Chinese Internet giant Tencent and its own parent company. What makes Tencent’s involvement interesting is that they also have made an investment in Spotify. In December both Tencent and Spotify bought minority shares from each other.

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