It’s been five days since Spotify launched in India, and the first indications of its early performance are in.
The company has confirmed that more than one million active users across both its free and premium tiers have accessed its service since it went live on Wednesday (local time) last week.
Spotify hasn’t broken down how many of those million-plus users are actually paying for Premium access, but we can hazard a guess.
A new report from Deloitte and local Indian trade body IMI suggests that there are currently around 150m audio digital ‘subscribers’ in India – but this report also estimates that just 1% are straight-up paying subscribers, with 14% on telco bundle deals, and 85% on ‘free subscriptions’ (ie. not paying anything at all).
Interestingly, 150m is itself just 11.2% of India’s estimated total population of 1.34bn.
Spotify’s million-odd users, then, make up around 0.07% of this 1.34bn populous – hinting at the huge opportunity ahead of Spotify, and the intimidating vastness of the Indian territory, where it now competes with the likes of JioSaavn, Gaana and Apple Music.
Another interesting stat: at the end of 2018, according to MBW calculations based on Spotify investor data, Spotify counted 24.8m monthly active users in the ‘rest of the world’ – ie. any territories outside of North America, Latin America and Europe. A million-plus addition to this figure within five days of launch in India will be welcome news to investors.
Warner Music Group will no doubt be watching Spotify’s beginnings in India with interest. Last week, as if you needed reminding, the two parties fell out very publicly.
WMG, unhappy with the level of payments Spotify was set to deliver from its service in India, refused to allow its publishing company, Warner/Chappell, to license Daniel Ek’s streaming service in the region.
Spotify, in response, tried to circumvent the need for a direct license from Warner/Chappell, applying for a statutory license in India which is more typically used by TV and radio broadcasters.
Warner then sued Spotify by applying for an emergency injunction seeking to block the statutory license. Spotify, in turn, publicly accused Warner of “abusive behavior”.
In the end, Spotify launched in India anyway. It didn’t have a statutory license, but Warner didn’t block it, either. The legal ramifications of that fact will make themselves known in the coming weeks.Music Business Worldwide