Quite a few official playlists with Indian music have just been added to Spotify, courtesy the newly appointed Senior Editor of Indian Culture, Heems. Spotify is the world’s largest on-demand music streaming service. Former OLX India CEO Amarjit Singh Batra recently joined the company to head its Indian arm. Spotify will face stiff competition when they launch. With over half a dozen established music streaming services, both local and global companies are offering a mix of inexpensive subscription options and ad-supported tiers.
Here’s a comparison of the largest on-demand music players in India.
Most streaming services have settled on a price of ₹99/month, with discounts for users who pay in advance for a multi-month subscription.
|Service||Price per month||Discount for pre-paying for multiple months?||Free tier?||Free trial|
|Amazon Music||₹93.25*||Not applicable||No||1 month|
|Google Play Music||₹99||No||Yes||1 month|
|Apple Music||₹120 (₹60 for students; ₹190 for families of upto six users)||No||No||3 months|
|Hungama Music||₹99||Yes||Yes||1 month|
|Wynk Music||₹99||Yes||Yes||1 month|
* Amazon Music comes with a ₹999 yearly subscription to Amazon Prime, which includes Video. Amazon Music is not sold separately
Note: Since JioMusic is merging with Saavn, we’re not including the former in any comparison.
|Service||Credit Cards||Debit Cards||Paytm||Google Play Credits||Net Banking||Carrier Billing||Auto-renewal?|
|Saavn||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Only on Google Play Credits|
|Gaana||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes (on desktop)||Vodafone & Idea||Only on Paytm and Google Play Credits|
|Google Play Music||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||No||Yes|
For perspective, Spotify only allows card payments in the US, with carrier billing in some markets.
All the above services offer audio at 256–320Kbps, pretty decent for the average listener. They all also allow offline downloading on mobile, but few do on the desktop.
When Spotify comes to India, it’ll be competing with a bunch of services that have deeply localized pricing, a wide variety of payment methods, and deep pockets — Gaana recently got $115 million from Tencent and Times Internet. Incidentally, Tencent also happens to be a strategic partner with Spotify. In Spotify’s least expensive market, the Philippines, Spotify charges ₱129, roughly ₹170. That’s almost double the monthly fee of most of the above streaming services.
Unlike Netflix, which can get away with premium pricing by having exclusive rights and original productions, all music streaming services have essentially the same catalogue. The biggest determinant of whether Spotify will succeed in India is whether i) it can get away with having the lowest price it has ever charged anyone in the world, and ii) whether the Spotify brand itself is coveted enough to get enough paying subscribers in India. For now, things look grim. Of 100 million streaming app listeners in India, only 1% actually fork out cash for a paid subscription. Even more concerning: Spotify itself doesn’t really make money.