YouTube Music is a lot like Spotify but cheaper

YouTube Music launched in India Business Insider India

  • YouTube Music just announced its launch in India with a monthly subscription of ₹99.
  • This is the second music streaming platform to launch in India in under a month, the first being Spotify.
  • But, in a space that’s getting increasingly competitive, it’s hard to see how YouTube Music stands out against its competition.
It’s been just over week that Spotify launched its app in India and YouTube is fast on its heels launching its own music streaming app and the Premium version of its video streaming platform in India.

India’s music streaming market is expected to hit user penetration of 7% by 2023 from the current 6.5%. Half a percentage point may not seem like much but looking at a population of 1.3 billion potential users — it can make a big difference in absolute numbers.

And, with annual growth rate of 1.6%, revenue from the music streaming industry in India is expected to burgeon to $227 million over the next four years.

The music streaming space in India is getting crowded with JioSaavn, Gaana, Spotify, Amazon Prime Music, Wynk, SoundCloud, Google Play, Apple Music and now, YouTube Music, all fighting for a piece of the pie.

Aside from the top contenders, smaller players like Jalso — a app that only has a library of local Gujarati songs — are also a part of the party.

The debutants to the music streaming scene in India

YouTube’s music subscription is at par with JioSaavn and Gaana’s pricing plans — making it the one of the cheapest subscription to a music streaming in India at ₹99. And the plus point for most users probably is that if they’re already Google Play subscribers, then the YouTube Music subscription is free.

But, Spotify has fared quite well for itself, garnering 1 million subscribers — both paid and unpaid — within one week of its launch in India. The main selling point for the app is its algorithm that the company claims is superior other’s thanks to its 207 million active users worldwide — making it the most popular music app in the world.

And while YouTube’s video platform is technically the most popular music streaming platform, with 225 million monthly active users in India alone — YouTube Music has only just started out.
But, launched after Spotify even globally, one can’t help but notice the similarities in the YouTube Music app and Spotify’s user interface — Spotify’s platform comes off less cluttered. And, this would be fine if YouTube had taken it a step further and built in improvements over what’s already available, but that, unfortunately, isn’t the case — even when it comes to personalised playlists.

Screenshots from Spotify (left) and YouTube Music (right) when users originally sign upBusiness Insider India

Screenshots of Spotify's (left) and YouTube Music's (right) default playlist curationBusiness Insider India

That being said, YouTube has integrated videos into the app but its redundant for users to use YouTube Music for that feature when they already have the YouTube installed on their phone.

One thing that does seem to be unique is the fact that it also has the the option to search for music using lyrics, even if the lyrics are wrong — something that isn’t available on Spotify.

Searching for songs by lyrics on Spotify (left) and YouTube Music (right)Business Insider India

And it should also be noted that audiophiles who are in search for new content might also favour YouTube Music for it’s range of diversity.

But all the features are rendered irredeemable by if users choose to use the free version of the YouTube Music app. The biggest flaw of the app is that works exactly like YouTube, that is, if a user doesn’t actively have the YouTube Music app open — music won’t play. Whereas, all the other music streaming platforms allow users to play music in the background, even in the free versions.

Not being able to multitask between listening to music and other apps on the phone seems to defeat the whole purpose of the app altogether.

All in all, YouTube Music doesn’t have features that stand out so boldly as to personalise the experience for users over what other music streaming apps already have to offer. Its launch in India feels like mere posturing to make its presence known in the market without really putting in too much effort.

See also:
Spotify got a million Indians to try its app in a week — but they will only stay if the price is right

Comparing Spotify, JioSaavn, Gaana and Amazon Music — which one makes sense for you

After Spotify, YouTube brings music streaming to India

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