Eight months after Spotify's CEO and co-founder Daniel Ek announced at the company's investor day presentation that an India launch was "imminent", things are finally moving towards fruition. Industry executives told The Economic Times that the popular music streaming service is in the final stages of negotiations with top Indian labels T-Series, Times Music, Eros Music and Zee Music for local content as it prepares to debut in the country in the next six months.
Its first attempt to foray into India through the acquisition route had failed as talks collapsed. So in its second attempt, Stockholm-based Spotify is opting to come in solo. It has reportedly already hired over 300 employees in India, including former Olx India CEO Amarjit Singh Batra as country head, and has taken up a large office space in Mumbai.
"We are in the final stages of negotiations for a two-year deal," Bhushan Kumar, managing director of T-Series, told the daily. "Our music will be available in the international markets on Spotify in the first quarter and later in India, when they launch here."
This is a major victory for Spotify since in its earlier attempt the brand could not get Indian labels to share their music. "India is very different... and here you can't run a music service without T-Series. So far, they have had only small labels, so a launch was difficult," a senior music industry executive told the daily.
Times Music, which has already signed an international deal with Spotify, also claims to be in "active negotiations for India". Similarly, executives at Eros International and Zee Music confirmed that talks are underway with the Swedish company.
Citing experts, the daily added that the Indian market won't be a cakewalk for Spotify as it is already dominated by services such as Gaana, which passed 75 million users this year, Saavn, Hungama, Airtel-owned Wynk and global services Apple Music, Google Play and Amazon Music. In any case, its third quarter results show that although it is the largest music streaming service in terms of global users - its monthly active users grew 28% to 191 million while it has 87 million premium subscribers - it is far from profitable. It posted an operating loss of 6 million euros in Q3 on revenue of 1.35 billion euros.
India is not the only new market Spotify has been focussing on. It recently added 13 countries in the Middle East and North Africa expanding its global footprint to 78 markets as of mid-November.
Edited by Sushmita Choudhury Agarwal