Spotify India launch blocked because of issue with US labels

The streaming services company was supposed to launch in India this over the next few months.


Spotify India’s launch, which was supposed to take place in summer this year, has landed in trouble. Music Business Worldwide has reported that three American labels, namely Warner, Sony and Universal which have a huge clout and following in the US and the Western world, are apparently blocking the streaming service’s launch in India. This is because the labels were apparently unhappy that Spotify was licensing artistes directly and giving competition to these labels.

In order to get back at the company, these labels have apparently refused to give the license for their music for the streaming service’s launch in India and new territories that the company may want to launch in. Music licenses are sold region-wise, which means that Spotify is pretty much in a spot if it wants to launch in India.

In Spotify’s direct licensing arrangement, while the deals were non-exclusive (which means that other streaming services could also approach artistes without any issue) the company was paying them a huge sum of money. Labels began to see this as a threat as they were being sidelined.

Music Business Worldwide quoted a senior US-based source at one of the three big label companies as saying, “We already have multiple, very strong partners in all of those markets. It is up to Spotify to convince us why we should help them compete. And right now, for obvious reasons, we don’t feel very convinced. We are seriously considering [not licensing] India.”

According to Music Business Worldwide reported that Spotify had planned to have a launch in the summer this year – first in beta and then publicly. It had even opened up an office in the country. But now, it looks like this plan has derailed and might be delayed until the company resolves the issue with the labels.

Spotify India is headed by former OLX India CEO Amarjit Singh Batra, and head of market operations Akshat Harbola. It also sees a lot of competition from several other companies in India such as  Saavn, Gaana, Airtel’s Wynk, Hungama Music and Apple Music.

The company has plans of launching the streaming service in South Korea, Russia, and then the Middle East and Africa.

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Afrin used to be our resident copy editor until she decided to become a full blown engineer. She can be tagged as one of the closeted grammar nazis.