Spotify launched last evening in India amidst a lot of controversies as Warner Music had dragged it to the Bombay high court seeking an injunction on its launch. Clearly, that didn’t happen, and while the launch went viral on social media with radio silence from Spotify itself — there was a seamy underbelly to the launch which came to the fore hours post many people had started experiencing the service. The moment folks saw the app on the Google Play Store or App Store, they downloaded it and many even opted for the premium tier. As they started experiencing the service, many people started noticing that a lot of their favourite music wasn’t even there. This was Netflix moment for Spotify users in India. Back in 2016 when Netflix had launched in India, marquee shows like House of Cards weren’t in India at launch and something similar happened here with Spotify. Of course, many experts this could’ve been the case as Spotify had been trying to launch in India for over a year and it was facing hardship getting the licensing for the music. This all means despite the pomp for Spotify and disdain for Apple Music, particularly people who have already been using Apple Music. Let me explain.

  • The main reason why most people shouldn’t jump to Spotify in haste is the fact that legendary acts like Led Zeppelin or 90’s superstars Linkin Park or Green Day and Duran Duran aren’t on the Indian app. The list is endless and you will only know when you search for the music. This could be because of the standoff with Warner Bros. but till that’s resolved Amazon Music and Apple Music certainly provide more comprehensive libraries even if you mostly listen to western music.
  • If you’ve matched a lot of your personal music using something like iTunes match for Apple Music, but you will find all that music has disappeared as Spotify wouldn’t have that content. Sure, that’s also true for Amazon Music, but that’s something to consider.
  • Apple and Amazon being global powerhouses have an advantage in getting better exclusive deals on future content. Many artists and labels have revolted against Spotify which has even led to this delayed launch in India and even Spotify powers through, its competitors are only getting stronger.
  • If you’re more interested in local Indian music, then again Spotify could be at a disadvantage as services like Gaana.com and JioSaavn have made a niche for themselves in the market and they are known to have very comprehensive libraries of indigenous content. So far the only Indian record company Spotify has closed a deal with is T-series, which admittedly is the largest one but they are just scratching the service. Even Apple and Amazon are ahead by virtue of being in India for longer. This wouldn’t be the streaming service you’d want if you listen to Punjabi, Tamil, Telegu, Bengali and Bollywood music. That’s not even what Spotify wants to be.
  • Last but not the least, Apple Music comes preloaded on your iPhones and iPads and you’re just a click from subscribing. It is deeply integrated with Siri. Amazon Music has Alexa built into the app and tuned to work best with Echo line of devices. Even though Spotify works across platforms and is quite integrated with the Google Home line of products, it doesn’t have a device ecosystem of its own backing it which means that Amazon and Apple can build walls and layers to further differentiate their services.

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