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Spotify plans to expand into India within the next six months

Spotify plans to expand into India within the next six months

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Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Spotify will be expanding into India, possibly within the next six months, according to Variety. Bloomberg confirmed the launch with unnamed sources who say the streaming service has recently cleared deals with many, but not all, of the major rights holders in India. This will bring the streaming service to one of the world’s biggest and fastest growing music markets — with a population of 1.3 billion — and raise the number of markets it’s available in to 78.

When Spotify arrives in India, it will offer a trial period for full access that’s longer than the company’s standard 30 days, according to Variety. Although streaming services are used by about 100 million people in India, only a small number opt to pay for them. Bloomberg notes that currently, the country’s most popular platform for music streaming is YouTube, which can be used to stream music for free.

Music rights in India are more fragmented

This isn’t the only hurdle Spotify faces with India. Music rights in the country are more fragmented due to the scores of local labels and publishers — Sony is the only one of the “big three” to have a significant footprint in India. In addition, notes Bloomberg, there are over a dozen different languages to account for and only a small amount of the Indian population owns a credit card (Spotify has found workarounds for this in the past; gift cards are popular in many countries, for example).

Cataloguing the music that’s popular in India poses its own unique problems. Bloomberg reports that music from Bollywood films account for more than half of sales in India, but fans often search for these songs using character names, instead of artist names.

When available in India, Spotify will be competing against popular local apps like Gaana and Saavn, along with Apple Music, Google Play Music, and Amazon Music.