Ahead of Planned Rollout in India, Spotify Officially Partners with T-Series

Will Spotify’s deal with T-Series help it shore up subscribers amidst fierce competition in India?

Spotify has made a new deal.

The streaming music giant has officially confirmed its partnership with India’s T-Series, a major music and film company.  The confirmation comes ahead of its planned rollout in the country.

Gulshan Kumar, an obscure fruit seller, first launched T-Series in the summer of 1983.  Back then, the company first sold cassettes of pirated Bollywood songs.  Then, T-Series started producing original devotional music.  Kumar had hired singers to record chants.  Then, the company started filming Hindu pilgrimages in the country and sold them on VHS and video cassettes.

T-Series now boasts over 160,000 songs in its catalog.  The company also arguably has the most-viewed channel on YouTube in the world.  More than 80 million subscribers have reportedly viewed the company’s original videos over 58 billion times.

According to one report, Spotify has spent months securing deals with major Indian rightsholders.  With the service set to launch in the first quarter of 2019, the streaming music giant only has around 8 million subscribers outside North America, Europe, and Latin America.

A successful launch in the country would boost the company’s numbers as well as investor confidence.  Following a turbulent month, the company closed at $103 last month, its lowest point historically.  Today, Spotify closed at $126.71, and has risen to $128.05 in after-hours trading.

Yet, the company may not have secured deals with every major label.

According to Bloomberg, Spotify has made deals with “many, though not all, of the largest labels.”

To compete in the country, the company’s strategy will depend on two factors.

First, Spotify aims to attract users with an extended free trial period.  To remain successful in the country, amidst fierce competition, it will have to quickly convert subscribers.

Second, to provide a competitive streaming music app, the service will also have to rely on its deals with Indian rightsholders.

Gaana, India’s leading streaming music service, has secured licensing deals with major labels.  The company has around 80 million monthly active users.  Yet, Gaana’s CEO recently admitted its paid subscriber base remains “in lower single digits only,” despite controlling 50% of India’s music market.

Ahead of Spotify’s planned launch, JioMusic and Saavn, two other major streaming music services, have pushed their unified platform – JioSaavn.  Reliance Limited, the platform’s parent company, has pushed a 90-day free trial to JioSaavn Pro.  The unified streaming music service has a catalog of 45 million songs, along with over 900+ label partnerships.  This includes Sony, Universal, and Warner Music.

Speaking about today’s announcement, Paul Smith, Director and Head of International Licensing at Spotify, explained,

Today’s deal with T-Series significantly strengthens our Indian music catalog, bringing Bollywood to more than 200 million Spotify users worldwide.  Having T-Series on Spotify is hugely significant and shows our commitment towards providing the very best music for our users.

Remaining optimistic about the streaming music giant’s strategy in India, Neeraj Kalyan, President and Digital Head at T-Series, added,

Indian music lovers globally will be in for a musical treat with over 160,000 songs in several languages from the T-Series catalog.  I’m sure Spotify’s expertise earned in mature markets will be helpful for the Indian streaming industry and will pave the way for a paid ecosystem in the streaming business in India.

 


Featured image by Pogaface (CC by 3.0).