How Spotify, YouTube, and others revived India’s music streaming space in 2019
India’s music streaming space gained in 2019 with the entry of Spotifyand YouTube. Here’s what’s next for these players in 2020.
Music streaming has been around in India for years now but it came in the limelight especially this year. The reason behind this is due to global services like Spotify and YouTube entering the Indian market and causing a stir among local players in India.
Spotify's launch in India was highly awaited considering it's the most popular music streaming service globally. The company silently launched its service in India on February 28. Spotify came prepared though with multiple subscription plans and even top-up options available for as low as ₹13.
Soon after Spotify, YouTube also launched its paid services in India. YouTube Music is available at ₹99 per month and it comes bundled with YouTube Premium at ₹129 per month. YouTube's free service which is already popular in India gave the company the boost it needed.
YouTube Premium and YouTube Music Premium are also ahead in the subscriber race with over 800,000 paid users in India. In comparison, Spotify has over 2 million users in India including free and paid. Spotify, however, won in terms of popularity with the app bagging Google Play's 'Users' Choice 2019' award.
Spotify and YouTube Music's entry in India definitely stirred the music streaming market which is expected to surpass $273 million by 2020 (Deloitte report). According to Counterpoint Research's Abhilash Kumar, Spotify, in particular, is expected to increase market share in 2020 because of its recommendation based algorithm, podcasts and "innovative plans/offers".
The effect was seen in rival services as well which were quick enough to slash prices of its subscription plans. JioSaavn and Gaana reduced their annual subscription plans to ₹999 and ₹1,098 respectively. Apple Music also slashed prices of all its subscription plans making it cheaper than Spotify.
Music streaming can now be seen as a booming market in India but consumers are still reliant on free services. Getting users on subscription plans is the biggest challenge for these companies, according to Counterpoint Research. Ad-based listening and music subscriptions provided by telcos are popular among users in India.
The increased mobile tariffs could also be a challenge for music streaming market.
"I think the market will continue to grow robustly. It's still in its infancy, still being adopted by large parts of the country. 2020 will be a year for an increase in adoption, Jehlil Thakkar, Deloitte India said.
"Another thing we have to see is any increase in data charges which the telcos have announced will impact the adoption and the use of the streaming services. We don't know the impact yet but there's likely to be an impact," he added.
The music streaming industry (audio streaming OTT) in India is estimated at 270 crores (Deloitte report). This is very low compared to other platforms in the music industry overall.
Abhilash Kumar added the music streaming companies can expand in the rural market with lightweight apps. Spotify Lite recently launched in multiple markets including India. Third-party tie-ups and localisation are also key areas where these companies can increase their presence in India.