Ahead of Spotify’s entry into the Indian market, the streaming service this morning announced a global content deal with a leading Indian film and music company, T-Series, which gives it access to T-Series’ entire Indian song catalog. This includes Bollywood and regional movie soundtracks, plus other non-film albums and emerging artist content, the company says.
In total the catalog boasts more than 160,000 songs, and is available to Spotify listeners as of today.
The deal has been rumored to be in the works for some time, as Spotify has been negotiating with top Indian labels like T-Series as well as Times Music, Eros Music and Zee Music to expand its catalog of local content before a launch in India.
In November, T-Series managing director Bhushan Kumar confirmed a deal with Spotify was in its final stages.
“We are bullish about India’s most popular music company tying up with the world’s most popular music streaming service,” Kumar said today, in a statement. “We are confident that together we will be able to reach new markets and spread the love for Indian music far and wide.”
Deals with labels aren’t the only way Spotify is prepping for its Indian debut. This past summer, it launched an Indian music hub on its service called Desi, which now counts more than 930,000 followers and includes its own playlist, Desi Hits.
The Indian market won’t be simple for Spotify to win, as it will go up against local players, including Gaana, which has more than 80 million users, in addition to Saavn, Wynk and global music services provided by Apple, Amazon and Google.
But gaining a foothold is key to Spotify’s continued international growth, due to the market’s sheer size.
Spotify has grown to more than 200 million monthly users worldwide ahead of its launch in India, but is not profitable. (Except for that brief moment it had, thanks to a tax benefit.)
Despite not yet operating in India, Spotify says more than 4 million users are now regularly listening to Indian music on the service. There also are an estimated 30 million Indians living overseas, including in markets where Spotify operates, like the U.S., Mexico, Brazil, the U.K, and Germany, says Spotify.
The company is expected to launch in India in the first half of 2019, and that time frame hasn’t changed, we understand.
“One of the ways Spotify has helped revolutionise music discovery is through its ability to connect millions of fans with the best music and artists from all over the world in a way that just wasn’t possible before streaming,” said Paul Smith, director, Head of International Licensing at Spotify, in a statement. “Today’s deal with T-Series significantly strengthens our Indian music catalogue, bringing Bollywood to more than 200 million Spotify users worldwide. Having T-Series on Spotify is hugely significant and shows our commitment towards providing the very best music for our users,” he added.