Spotify told the Delhi High Court on Tuesday it will remove all content that belongs to Indian music label Saregama from its platform within 10 days, reports Bar And Bench (see order copy). Saregama had been in talks with Spotify and had given it the copyright for its library a month before Spotify launched in India in late February. But the companies failed to finalize a licensing agreement; Saregama approached the high court to restrain Spotify from using its content. Spotify said it did not consider Saregama’s petition to be adversarial and said it would delete the company’s content by May 3rd. The case will next be heard on May 7th. Its worth noting that Spotify already cannot stream music from global music giant Warner due to ongoing litigation, it will now remove all artists signed with Saregama Music.
MediaNama has reached out to Saregama for details, we will update this once we hear from them.
Spotify’s battle with Warner Music
Spotify launched in India on February 26 amidst a legal fight over streaming rights. Warner Music petitioned the Bombay High Court to bar Spotify from streaming songs from its catalogue. While Spotify and Warner Music had been in talks for a while, the companies hadn’t reached an agreement. Spotify said that Warner “revoked a previously agreed-upon publishing license for reasons wholly unrelated to Spotify’s launch in India”. In its filing for a statutory license to stream Warner Chappel Music (a division of Warner Music Group) in India, Spotify stated that Warner Chappel had initially clarified that it was willing to grant Spotify a voluntary license for India, but shortly before Spotify’s planned launched refused to grant the license “without providing any reasonable grounds whatsoever”. Spotify sent Warner a letter on February 19 stating that it was willing to continue negotiations. Launched in end of February, Spotify garnered over 1 million users in the country.
Spotify’s India launch was first reported last year. Reports at the time said it would offer an extended trial period. In January, the company agreed a licensing deal with T-Series, and accidentally revealed its end user agreements for India, effective January 31. However, the launch was delayed because of pending deals with Sony, Universal and Warner.
Saregama’s music biz grew 68% in Q3FY19
Saregama’s operational revenues grew by 60% year-on-year to Rs 150 crore for the quarter ended December 31, 2018, from revenues of Rs 93.7 crore a year before that. The growth was driven by a 68% jump in the company’s music business revenues to Rs 138.5 crore from Rs 82.3 crore a year ago. The music business brought in 92% of the company’s quarterly revenues, while the TV/films business brought in 8% of the revenue. Profits from the music segment grew 45% YoY to Rs 32.3 crore, which solely drove overall company profit.
The music segment included licensing of Saregama’s 120,000 songs (in 18 languages) to streaming services, radio, TV, and YouTube streaming, outside of WAP mobile services like caller ringtones. Saregama’s OTT streams, which are playbacks of songs licensed to OTT services like JioSaavn, Gaana, or Wynk Music, increased to 1.045 billion, a 55% YoY increase from 670 million streams in Q3FY18. YouTube views more than doubled year-over-year from 365 million views to 784 million views.