Another thorn in Spotify’s side ahead of its India launch

Flickr/Jon Aslund

  • Spotify’s India launch has been delayed yet again due to an injunction filed by the Warner Music Group barring the Swedish company from their music library.
  • Spotify is claiming that this is ‘abusive behaviour’ on their part to leverage a better deal.
  • Spotify has closed its licensing deals with the Universal Music Group, Sony Music and T-Series.

Users have been waiting for Spotify’s India launch for a while and it appears they may have to wait a little longer since the Warner Music Group just filed an injunction against Spotify in the country.

“Warner Music Group (WMG) instructed Warner/Chappell Music (WCM) to file for an injunction in an attempt to leverage WCM’s local Indian publishing rights, to extract concessions in WMG’s global renewal negotiations for musical recordings. WMG revoked a previously agreed upon publishing license for reasons wholly unrelated to Spotify’s launch in India.”

Spotify India spokesperson told Business Insider India

The two have been at odds about their licensing deal and the injunction now bars Spotify from their music library, locking them out from the rights to over one million songs.

Spotify claims that this is ‘abusive behaviour’ on Warner’s part in order to leverage a better deal. Warner told Variety that ‘they had no choice’ since Spotify ‘abruptly changed course’. The Swedish company informed Business Insider India that it will now be filing for a statutory license that will prevent such practices and ensure that all rights holders are compensated fairly.

"WMG’s abusive behavior would harm many non-Warner artists, labels and publishers, and prevent Spotify from competing in the market, leaving us no choice but to file for a statutory license. "

Spotify India spokesperson told Business Insider India

While Spotify is continuing to weigh their options, its licensing deals with the Universal Music Group, Sony Music and T-Series have been finalised.

"All other major labels and publishers have already agreed on economics and licensing of their music, and Spotify has also entered into a license with the local collecting society, while WCM remains the lone hold-out needed for a Spotify launch in India."

Spotify India spokesperson told Business Insider India

Launching the music streaming service in the world’s second most populous country — where streaming revenue grew at 60.8% in 2018 — could help Spotify gain some ground in the US, where its stock has been dipping on Wall Street along with other tech companies.

It’s understandable that the company wants to cement its deal with Warner before going live, but Warner has less than 5% market share locally. That being said, Warner/Chappell does publish songs under multiple labels.

Spotify’s launch in India has been postponed at least twice due to licensing issues even though its Mumbai office was set up in April last year. Spotify is already late to market in India with JioSaavn and Gaana dominating most of the market share.

See also:

Spotify plans to launch in India in the next 6 months — and with an extended 30-day trial period for Indian users

Spotify just unveiled a new free version of its mobile app - here's your first look at all the changes

The CEO of Spotify is 'ruthless' about his schedule, and tells his friends that he likes to be invited - but he probably won't come

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