Saavn, a free music streaming service for iOS, Android, Chrome, and Facebook users, is a popular Spotify alternative used by many Indians both at home and abroad. Saavn boasts a deep collection of Bollywood, Kollywood, Tollywood, and western hits that make listening to music legal, free, and in high quality. The Indian customer base comprises 58% of all Saavn users.
On the other side of the world, Spotify is making waves with its free music over desktop applications and unlimited music streaming for a fee on other devices. Spotify caters to nearly 20 million users and was at the time of inception, the first well-built service that disrupted the music scene for good. Many users claim to be listening to a vast variety of music than they normally would by using such services. Being the present global king of music streaming, is it a little too late for Spotify to enter the Indian market?
Sevens 10 Million clientele comprise predominantly of Indian customers. Dhingana, a bigger competitor, has nearly 15 million users in India. Since customer behaviour largely revolves around the “price” factor, Saavn and Dhingana already offer free music on all platforms making it more accessible to users, mobile or not. In contrast, Spotify has, for a long time, been a premium service on the road and may not be the right model to attract listeners in India.
Saavn and Dhingana have a vast library of old and latest songs released in India with exclusive content through tie-ups with local music distribution companies. Dhingana offers collections that are more organized and categorized by language and period. Also, the collection of Indian music on Spotify is miniscule in comparison to Saavn and Dhingana. The Indian music collection on Spotify lacks clarity and is very unorganized making it time consuming for users to build playlists.
Saavn, which initially started off as a premium content distributor has major partnerships with leading companies like Hulu, Netflix, Amazon, YouTube, T-Series, Tips(exclusive), Sony and Google. They tie up with companies like these make their product more accessible, especially with web app widget on Google Chrome and apps on iOS and Android platforms. Spotify’s tie-ups with Facebook and Yahoo on the world platform may not suffice to raise its stakes in India.
Targeting a price conscious yet diverse market may be the biggest challenge for Spotify given its current disparate model for desktop and mobile users. Rampant piracy in the music industry adds further to the challenges. Saavn’s music streaming currently runs on start-up funds, giving it enough time to build a strong database and a user base before becoming a premium. On the whole, the timing seems just a bit off for Spotify and they might have missed the boat to attract one of the biggest markets in the world. What happens to Spotify, we’ll have to wait and watch.