Spotify will need to dig deeper into its arsenal to win over the competition in India, even after a year of going local

Spotify will need to dig deeper into its arsenal to win over the competition in India, even after a year of going local
Spotify completes one year in IndiaUnsplash

  • Spotify completed one year in India on 26 February 2020.
  • International pop music, primarily English and K-Pop, is still more popular than local tracks for most users on Spotify.
  • After a rocky start, Spotify still has a ways to go before it can catch up to local players like JioSaavn or Gaana.
It's been a year since Spotify launched in the world's second-most popular country. The music streaming giant had a rough start entering an already competitive market and delays due to its dispute with Warner Music Group.

In its eleventh month, Spotify became a part of OnePlus TV's integration and relaunched its Podcast page with a new look.

However, the company has shied away from revealing any India-specific numbers other than two million monthly average users (MAUs) at the end of Q1 2019, shortly after the app's debut in the country.
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Local music takes a back seat
Despite Spotify's impetus on localising its app for India, it's only users between 35 to 44 years of age that listen to mostly to local music — otherwise, international pop takes the cake. Not only is it popular with their target audience, GenZ and millennials, but Senorita by Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello was the most streamed track among users older than 55 years.

However, the age barrier is not uniform across India. In Goa, across all age groups, Spotify users only listen to international music — some in English, some in Korean. The K-Pop genre is also popular in clusters, especially in the northeast states — except from Assam where users mostly listen to Punjabi music.

That being said, local music seems to have found its foothold in Gujarat where Spotify claims that users aged 25 to 55 years old only consume Bollywood Hindi music. Local tracks are also popular with male listeners in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chandigarh, and Telangana.

The road ahead
Since its launch, Spotify has been streaming in over 2,300 cities across India with over 6,400 local artists represented on the platform. However, Kantar and VTION's OTT Audience Measurement Insights report published in January estimates that Spotify still has a lot of catching up to do.

It claims that Gaana is leading with 30% market share followed by JioSaavn, which has 24% of the market. Spotify lags behind at par with Wynk at 17% each. It should be noted that the study leaves out YouTube Music — a music-streaming juggernaut in India that would likely reduce Spotify's market share even further.

India is an important market for Spotify. Competition is on the rise globally and Spotify needs to keep up. TechSci research estimates that the country's music streaming market is currently worth $150 million and pegged to reach $400 million by 2023.

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