Spotify is making voice-controlled hardware for the car – and could launch in India on January 31

A double-headed Spotify story to round off the working week.

First: the streaming company is beavering away on a voice-controlled hardware unit designed to be used in the car.

That’s according to the Financial Times, which reports that the in-car music player is being built in tandem with multinational tech company Flex, and is due for release later this year.

It will reportedly offer an Alexa-rivalling ‘Spotify Voice’ system with which drivers and passengers can communicate.

Spotify aims to charge about $100 for the product, says the FT. It will sync to car stereos via a Bluetooth connection, as well as housing ‘preset buttons that correspond to Spotify playlists’.

And that’s not the only big Spotify story today: more evidence has arrived suggesting that the company might be launching in India by the end of this month – more specifically, on January 31.

Spotify appears to have possibly (and accidentally) revealed the launch date within its official online terms and conditions page for the territory. The official India Spotify page has now removed any mention of the date.

That’s if you care to put stock in the fact that Spotify’s appears to have accidentally revealed the launch date on its official terms and conditions page for the territory.

The official India Spotify page has now removed any mention of the date.

A launch by end of January would fit with a recent Variety report which suggested that Spotify may be due to hold a launch party for its service in Mumbai on January 31.

As recently as the end of November, Spotify did not have India-specific licensing deals in place with all three major labels.

It might not need them (or at least all of them): Spotify announced a global licensing deal with T-Series, India’s largest homegrown record label, earlier this week.

India, with a population of 1.3bn people, was the 19th biggest recorded music market last year, according to the IFPI, generating $130.7m.

Digging further into this IFPI data shows that, while subscription streaming revenues more than trebled in India in 2017 (to $33.7m), ad-funded streaming revenues actually fell year-on-year, down 29.5% (to $27.6m).

India’s biggest existing music streaming services include Saavn, which recently came together in a $1bn-valued merger with local rival JioMusic to form new super-brand JioSaavn.

The owner of JioMusic, Reliance Industries, launched its Jio mobile network in 2016, offering free 4G coverage across India – helping accelerate streaming’s growth in the territory.

Elsewhere, China’s dominant streaming player, Tencent Music Entertainment, recently invested $115m in another leading Indian service, Gaana, which boasts over 75m users.Music Business Worldwide

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