Spotify to launch music streaming service in India to stay ahead of Apple

Spotify to launch music streaming service in India to stay ahead of Apple

The world’s largest music streaming service, Spotify, is looking to bring its service to India, one of the fastest-growing internet markets in the world, as it looks to boost growth and stay ahead of rival Apple.Announcing Spotify’s plans to list on public markets on April 3, CEO Daniel Ek said the Stockholm-based company was planning an entry into some of the largest markets in the world. Spotify is taking a rather unusual path to go public and will directly sell shares to the public.”We are working on launching in some of the biggest markets in the world, including India, Russia, and Africa, which have a very rich musical culture,” Ek said during his presentation. He said that post IPO, the company would continue to focus on growth rather than turning on the profit machine.While no further details were divulged on when Spotify could launch its service here or its pricing in the country, the company did disclose in its IPO filing last week that it has leased office space in Mumbai. The company has also made ex-Googler Akshat Harbola as its Head of Market Operations in India.Plans to enter India and other fast-growing markets comes as industry analysts say Apple’s rate of signing up new paid subscribers is far outstripping that of Spotify’s. In the US, the largest music streaming market in the world, Apple Music could beat Spotify in the next few quarters to become the leading player there.Despite its service not being available in India, there already are several thousand users in the country who use Spotify via VPNs. Spotify said that the awareness of its brand among users in India is already high, alluding to the fact that the company would be able to achieve organic growth in India.However, India’s market for music streaming is witnessing a marked shift now.

While Times Group-owned Gaana, which recently received $115 million in funding led by Tencent, currently leads the India market in terms of a sheer number of users, competition in the space is becoming cutthroat.In India, Apple charges the lowest subscription fee for its Apple Music service anywhere in the world. While a person in the US pays $9.99 every month to access Apple Music, in India the monthly charge is just Rs 120 or under $2. However, the company has failed to make a big dent in India largely due to its lack of regional content.Amazon, the latest entrant into India’s music streaming space is offering customers access to its Prime Music as part of its Rs 999 yearly Prime loyalty programme. The company has already scored millions of users via its video streaming service and free expedited delivery service, but has also tied up with several large regional music producers to bring their content on its platform.Spotify will need to drop its prices from $9.99 per month to something more affordable in India if it wants to grow its base of paid users in the country. It will be seen if the company can maintain the same pricing here but still convert a free user to a paid one in under 12 months as it claimed was its average during its financial presentation yesterday.


Spotify Signs Sony Royalty Deal While Warner Holds Out: Reports

Spotify Signs Sony Royalty Deal While Warner Holds Out: Reports

Spotify has reached a licensing deal with a second major label, Sony Music Entertainment, according to media reports, setting the stage for a US stock market listing by the music streaming leader.

Recently valued at $13 billion (roughly Rs. 83,810 crores), Sweden’s Spotify is planning a direct listing on the New York Stock Exchange later this year or in early 2018, sources told Reuters in May.

Sony agreed to reduce royalties that Spotify must pay in return for the streaming service restricting new albums to paying subscribers for two weeks before offering access to free users, the Financial Times reported, citing a single source.

Sony’s top artists include Adele, Beyonce and Shakira.

Spotify is also in talks with Warner Music Group , Billboard reported.

Favourable royalty terms are crucial for Spotify to attain profitability and to make it a viable long-term holding for investors.

The company reported a EUR 349 million ($400 million) operating loss, a 47 percent increase on a year earlier, even as revenue grew 50 percent to EUR 2.93 billion.

In April, it signed a multi-year licensing deal with Vivendi’s Universal Music Group, with a similar two-week release window for new albums and a break on the royalties Spotify pays Universal.

It also signed up digital agency Merlin, on behalf of more than 20,000 independent labels.

Last year, Universal held a 28.9 percent share of global music label revenue, Sony Music generated 22.4 percent and Warner 17.4 percent. Independent labels made up the remaining 31.3 percent, MIDiA Research data showed.

Spotify has fended off competition from rival Apple Music, with nearly double the number of paying subscribers.

In March, Spotify said it had more than 50 million paying subscribers and 140 million active users, including free listeners. Apple reported 27 million music subscribers last month, up from 20 million in December.

The company has faced boycotts from some top music artists who have complained its free services undercut the value of their work but the major label licensing deals have gone some way toward easing these tensions, according to analysts.

Spotify declined to comment. Sony Music Entertainment and Warner Music Group did not respond to requests for immediate comment.


Spotify CEO Daniel Ek Becomes Chairman as Co-Founder Steps Down

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek Becomes Chairman as Co-Founder Steps DownSpotify CEO Daniel Ek Becomes Chairman as Co-Founder Steps Down
Spotify co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Daniel Ek is consolidating power over the world’s largest music streaming service, taking on the role of chairman ahead of a planned initial public offering as soon as next year.

Martin Lorentzon, a co-founder of Spotify, is stepping down from his role as chairman after 10 years, a Spotify spokeswoman said in an e-mail. Lorentzon will become vice chairman, he said Thursday on his Twitter feed.

(Also see: Spotify Debuts in Japan, Complete With Karaoke Lyrics)

“I look forward to another 10 years at Spotify as vice chairman,” Lorentzon said.

Ek is leading the company as it prepares to make its case to public-market investors and takes on a growing list of rivals, including Apple, Amazon and Pandora. He’s taking a page from other technology industry founders such as Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg – who maintain tight control over the leadership and direction of their companies – as he oversees a growing staff spread across Stockholm, London, New York and Los Angeles.

The company is in the midst of critical negotiations with record companies that will determine how much Spotify pays to carry music on its service. The outcome will help determine whether the company can bend itself toward profitability, as it currently pays most of its revenue back out in the form of royalties to labels and publishers.
Spotify last month surpassed 40 million paying customers, and has 100 million monthly users including its free, ad-supported product. It generated more than $2 billion in revenue last year but remains unprofitable.

(Also see: Spotify Said to Be in Advanced Talks to Buy SoundCloud)

Earlier this year, Lorentzon joined venture capitalist and Skype founder Niklas Zennstrom, former Finance Minister for Sweden Anders Borg and several other business leaders in signing an open letter calling for reforms in Sweden’s education, tax and housing industries, and warned that failure to do so could force businesses from the Nordic region’s biggest economy.

© 2016 Bloomberg L.P.

Tags: Spotify, Music Streaming Service, Music, Internet, Home Entertainment, Apps


Spotify Free Users Complain of Malware-Infested Ads; Company Addresses Issue

Spotify Free Users Complain of Malware-Infested Ads; Company Addresses Issue

Some Spotify Free users were treated to malware-infested ads with their ad-supported music streaming service. Some users have reported on the company’s forum that random, malicious ads pop-up on the default browser while running Spotify’s freemium service.

The Next Web reports that while the original report was based on a Windows 10 machine, the malware also seems to pop up on other operating systems as well including Linux and macOS. Spotify has acknowledged the malvertising issue and told Engadget that the issue is an isolated on and has since “shut it down”.

(Also see: Spotify Debuts in Japan, Complete With Karaoke Lyrics)

“If you have Spotify Free open, it will launch – and keep on launching – the default Internet browser on the computer to different kinds of malware / virus sites,” wrote user Tonyonly on the company’scommunity page. “Some of them do not even require user action to be able to cause harm,” he added.

In a reply to the user’s complaint, Spotify said, “We’ve identified an issue where a small number of users were experiencing a problem with questionable website pop-ups in their default browsers as a result of an isolated issue with an ad on our Free tier. We have now identified the source of the problem and have shut it down. We will continue to monitor the situation. If you see this issue again, please let us know the exact date and time in this thread.”

In 2011, Spotify faced a similar issue where it displayed malicious ads to some users. The company rectified the problem and issued a public apology.

While Spotify confirms to have fixed the issue, users should still maintain caution and download ad-blockers if running Spotify Free, or shift to the company’s ad-free version instead.

Tags: Spotify, Music Streaming, Streaming, Malware, PC, Laptops, Virus