Spotify Finally Comes to Alexa in India
Spotify announced Friday that it is now available through Amazon Alexa compatible devices in India. The CEO of India Music Industry (IMI) told TheNextWeb there are now 200 million unique users of streaming music apps in the country. Gaana says it has 150 million monthly active users (MAU) while JioSaavn reports 100 million. Spotify, which first entered the Indian market in February 2019, said it had over two million MAU after its first month of availability.
Musically recently cited a Kantar and Vtion report suggesting that Spotify already accounts for 15% market share. That would suggest a user base of 30 million. Musically’s Stuart Dredge voiced some skepticism about the findings but any way you look at it, Spotify has millions of users and still is well behind the market leaders both of which have Alexa skills. That means adding distribution through Alexa devices is another step for Spotify to reach music streaming customers on whatever device they prefer for listening. And, it could be a source of new customers that are not currently streaming music but are introduced to the services after becoming a smart speaker user.
Spotify Premium is the Premium in India
Spotify may have a tough challenge ahead in India. Some reports suggest as low as 1% of Indians using streaming music services pay for a subscription. Instead, they overwhelmingly opt for ad-supported listening. Spotify offers this as well but its model is definitely focused on subscription and using ad-supported listeners as a reliable funnel for new subscribers. When converting to subscription Spotify currently has the highest price point at ₹119 ($1.67) per month compared to ₹99 (1.39) for Gaana, JioSaavn, Apple Music, and YouTube Music, and ₹83.25 ($1.17) fro Amazon Prime Music according to TheNextWeb analysis.
These may look like small differences to many readers but they translate into large differences. Spotify if 20% more expensive than the market leading services and over 40% higher cost than Amazon’s own music services for the country. To the extent that most listening remains ad-supported and free for users, this premium pricing may not matter that much but it is interesting to see such a high price point difference compared to the native music service provided by the smart speaker manufacturer.
Music is the Killer App of Smart Speakers
With that said, music is the killer app of smart speakers in every market so far. It tends to be the most tried and most frequently used feature of smart speakers. That is not surprising given that they are fundamentally speakers and consumers are bound to use them for music. So, Spotify joins the music crowd on Echo smart speakers in India because they must. When Spotify supported the initial rollout of Echo speakers in the U.S. it was merely a novelty to support such a device. Today, it is required in order to serve streaming music customers where an increasing percentage of listening is taking place.