Spotify confirms plans to launch in India and Russia; to begin public trading on April 3

Spotify is working to debut its services in India, Russia, and countries in Africa, company CEO and co-founder Daniel Ek confirmed during an Investor Day presentation:

“We are working on launching in some of the biggest markets in the world, including India, Russia, and Africa which has a very rich musical culture.”

Spotify made its debut in South Africa earlier this week, along with Israel, Romania, and Vietnam. The company reportedly shelved its plans for a Russian launch in 2015, but then began reconsidering the decision in 2016. When it makes a debut, it would be competing with services from local players such as Zvooq and Yandex, as well as international adversaries like Apple and Google.

In India, on the other hand, rumors of a launch have been around for several months; it was reported earlier this month that the company had already set up an office in the country.

Spotify would arguably face stiffer competition in India, as it would not only be competing with several local services – such as Gaana, Saavn, Wynk, and Hungama – as well as international players – such as Apple, Google, and Amazon – but it would also have to do so at an extremely low price.

Gaana offers its subscription service for ₹99/mo ($1.50) in the country, while Saavn starts at ₹120/mo ($1.85). In order to compete, Google offers Play Music at a low price of ₹99/mo ($1.50) as well, with Apple Music available for ₹120/mo ($1.85) – but ₹60/mo ($0.90) for students. Amazon began offering Prime Music in the country last month. It's bundled with the Prime subscription which costs ₹999 ($15) annually and includes Prime Video as well as other benefits.

Spotify still may have an upper-hand over the international competition with its free tier; Gustav Söderström, Chief Product Officer at Spotify, assured during the presentation that that tier was here to stay, enumerating the major reasons:

“One: it reaches the millions of consumers who are still on the fence about paying for music, which brings them into our ecosystem. Two: It allows us to learn from the biggest possible group of music fans in the world. And three: Once they have Spotify on their phone, car speaker and devices, music simply becomes a much bigger part of their lives, and the more they engage, the more likely they are to discover that music is an important part of their life worth paying for.”

It will be interesting to see how much of its international library Spotify is able to retain if it does decide to launch at the low price points popular in these countries. Spotify also confirmed the reports stating that it would go public as early as April 2 – it will be doing so on April 3, with guidance to be issued on March 26. It will trade under the ticker SPOT.

Source: Variety, Wall Street Journal, Economic Times

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